Much has been said over the last several months about the overall health of Pebble as a company. Pebble was an early leader in the world of smartwatches, but recently has struggled as bigger names have jumped into the market. Now, it seems, the company has finally lost.
Pebble announced on its website that it would shut down and sell its software and intellectual property to Fitbit. According to the announcement, Fitbit will also hire some of Pebble’s “key personnel.”
“Due to various factors, Pebble is no longer able to operate as an independent entity,” Pebble founder Eric Migicovsky said in a blog post published Wednesday on the Redwood City, Calif., company’s website. “We have made the tough decision to shut down the company and no longer manufacture Pebble devices.”
Unfortunately, Pebble did not elaborate on why they will no longer operate independently, and they have not responded to requests for comment. However, it is no secret that the company has been struggling financially since the likes of Apple and Samsung entered the market full force.
Fitbit has confirmed that they plan on hiring some of Pebble’s personnel and they are purchasing Pebble’s intellectual property related to both software and firmware development. But hardware was not part of the acquisition.
So where does this leave Pebble owners? Unfortunately, they don’t have many options. On the short term, Pebble has stated that there will be no immediate changes to the Pebble user experience. However, in the future, Pebble functionality and service quality may be reduced. Basically, for now your Pebble will continue to function as normal. However, they make no guarantees in the future. Chances are you won’t be seeing anymore updates to your smartwatch and some of your services may simply cease to exist in the near future.
What about those investors on their Kickstarter campaigns? Investors who haven’t received their rewards will be receiving a refund by December 16 to their credit cards. So, if you haven’t received the watch and other gifts you were promised, don’t count on getting them. That is probably for the best. Who knows how long the watch will continue to work in the future.
In many ways, it is a sad day in the world of smartwatches. Pebble was an early leader in the category and created some truly unique smartwatches that users have enjoyed. Unfortunately, they just weren’t able to complete with the likes of Apple and other players with much deeper pockets. Some of the user experience will continue, though. “It is because of the close collaboration with the Fitbit team that the Pebble user experience will continue. Fitbit will maintain services so that Pebble devices continue to work as normal. Pebble functionality and service may be reduced in the future. We applaud their efforts as we collectively work to streamline this transition for Pebblers everywhere.”
What do you think about this news from Pebble? Are you sad to see this smartwatch leave the market or do you believe it needed to happen? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.