It was rumoured, and now it’s confirmed: Fitbit has
killed acquired Pebble, including its technology, software, and other intellectual property. Of course, Pebble sells this as a positive, but if you’re a Pebble user, chances are you’re probably not going to be too thrilled.
Pebble became the darling of crowdfunding, raising a tonne of money via the Kickstarter platform and shipping smartwatches to millions around the world. By modern standards, the Pebble is pretty primitive, but at the time it was somewhat revolutionary; finally we had a smartwatch that was affordable and actually useful. Of course, like many things though, Pebble came and kind of went … after the success of the initial Pebble, they never really found continued momentum. Follow-up devices were significantly less popular, and inevitably, Pebble’s business model pretty much collapsed.
Fitbit moved in and, perhaps quite wisely, acquired the valuable parts of the company, including a good number of its staff. The news there is good; undoubtedly, the team behind Pebble have some skills which Fitbit would love to use, and Fitbit’s products could only be the better for having some more smartwatch-oriented cred behind them. The downside, though, is for pretty much everyone else.
Those who have bought Pebble watches in the past and looking for support will need to know this:
- Pebble is no longer promoting, manufacturing, or selling any devices.
- Pebble devices will continue to work as normal. No immediate changes to the Pebble user experience will happen at this time.
- Pebble functionality or service quality may be reduced in the future.
That last dot point is a big one; while most of the way Pebble works is cloud-independent, issues may arise in future. If the partner app for the mobile isn’t updated, it may fall by the wayside and eventually stop working. Of course, by the time that becomes a serious enough issue, most people will probably have given up on their Pebble watches anyway.
For new customers, or those who had ordered newer generation watches through Pebble’s kickstarters and other forums, there might be less good news:
- Kickstarter backers who have not received their rewards will receive a full refund within 4-8 weeks as a chargeback to their credit cards. For more information, please visit Pebble’s Support page.
- Orders from pebble.com are no longer being accepted or fulfilled, including Pebble 2 pre-orders, which have not yet been charged or shipped.
That part makes sense; if they’re not selling them anymore, they should stop shipping them and refund unfulfilled orders. The last part is the kicker, though: Pebble won’t offer warranty support going forward. In other words, if your watch fails from today onwards, you’re on your own. For customers in Australia, it’s worth noting that Pebble never really set up shop here, so unless you somehow managed to buy a Pebble from an Australian retailer, you won’t have protection of Australian Consumer Law rights. If you bought from overseas and something goes wrong, your chances of getting your Pebble repaired just got significantly worse.
Do you still have, or use, a Pebble smart watch? Let us know your thoughts on this development.