As wearable tech competition hots up, smartwatch-maker Pebble has announced that it will be opening its very own app store this month.

At a Consumer Electronics Show that's about to be overwhelmed by smartwatches good and bad, sophisticated and atrocious, category pioneer Pebble is striking the first punch. On Monday the company announced Pebble Steel, a striking cosmetic upgrade to its previous smartwatch offering, which has begun looking somewhat anachronistic - and maybe even a bit hokey.

Indeed, wearable designers are finally catching on to the reality that mainstream consumers don't want to look like total nerds.

Smartwatches are crawling out of the CES woodwork like so many seething insects, and it's important for proud Pebble to show it's still a boss in the wearables scene. The new design gives Pebble a more sophisticated, current aesthetic, and matches well with perhaps an even bigger announcement: Pebble is launching its own app store.

Calling it the "very first open platform for sharing apps optimized for wearables," the new store is built directly into existing iOS and Android Pebble apps. It should be live by the end of January, and it will save Pebble users the hassle of finding compatible apps in disparate locations. 

Pebble also announced three new software partners Monday. Pandora, ESPN, and Mercedes-Benz will be getting appy on the smartwatch platform that's been so instrumental in generating buzz and interest around wearable tech.