Commentary

Smartwatch Maker Pebble Shuts Down, Fitbit Buys Some Remains

Smartwatch pioneer Pebble is no more.

After raising more than $30 million, the wearables maker has closed its door and some of its staff is heading over to wearables market leader Fitbit.

It’s not really that Fitbit bought Pebble.

The reality is that Pebble shut down, has stopped making watches or any other devices and some of the Pebble staff, software and intellectual property were acquired by Fitbit.

Rumors of a Pebble sale to Fitbit had been widely reported last week, as I wrote about here at the time (A Blip In The World Of Wearables).

Pebble, once a Kickstarter high-flyer that introduced wrist-based notifications before Apple, has shipped more than 2 million smartwatches globally.

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In what may become unfortunate for some of those, Pebble warranties went the way of the company.

Pebble posted a statement to its user community letting them know the situation. This is one part of the Pebble statement:

“Active Pebble watches will work normally for now. Functionality or service quality may be reduced down the road. We don’t expect to release regular software updates or new Pebble features. Our new mission will focus on bringing Pebble’s unique wearables expertise to future Fitbit products. We’re also working to reduce Pebble's reliance on cloud services, letting all Pebble models stay active long into the future.”

But the key Pebble statement about support may be the most significant for current Pebble watch owners. It reads:

“One-to-one Pebble support is no longer available. Any Pebble currently out in the wild is no longer covered by or eligible for warranty exchange. Users looking to troubleshoot their Pebbles can still visit our Help Portal and community resources.”

What Fitbit bought excludes any of Pebble’s hardware products.

Fitbit CEO James Park said the acquisition of some of Pebble’s software will help Fitbit accelerate the development of customized solutions and third-party applications for Fitbit Group Health customers, which could include employers who give fitness trackers to employees to promote positive health.

Pebble watches will continue to work as normal, unless they break or malfunction. If that happens, as the now defunct Pebble flatly stated: “Warranty support is no longer available for Pebble watches.”

This means that anyone who recently bought a Pebble smartwatch as a Christmas gift now has a new, warranty-free device.

Pebble was offered $740 million to sell itself to Citizen las year and $70 million from intel later, according to the Motley Fool.

Now it has shuttered itself and Fitbit has bought some of the remaining parts.

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