Pebble Shuts Down, Team Joins Fitbit

Posted on December 7, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Mobile with 17 Comments

Pebble Shuts Down, Team Joins Fitbit

Wearable maker Pebble announced today that it is shutting down and will no longer make devices. The good news? The team is heading off to market leader Fitbit.

“Pebble is no longer able to operate as an independent entity,” Pebble’s Eric Migicovsky writes in the Pebble blog. “We have made the tough decision to shut down the company and no longer manufacture Pebble devices. This news has several major implications.”

Those implications include:

  • Pebble is no longer promoting, manufacturing, or selling any devices.
  • Pebble devices will continue to work as normal, with “no immediate changes to the Pebble user experience … at this time.” That said, “Pebble functionality or service quality may be reduced in the future.” I think that is a certainty.
  • Warranty support is no longer available for Pebble watches.

There’s more, but check out the post for the full list.

The more interesting bit, perhaps, is that Pebble sort-of confirmed recent rumors that Fitbit would be buying the company. That is, it’s acquiring the team, not the company and its devices (and support requirements).

“I am happy to announce that many members of Team Pebble will be joining the Fitbit family to continue their work on wearable software platforms,” Migicovsky explains. “Pebble’s successful approach to third-party wearable development is undeniable, and Fitbit is welcoming our expertise in this space wholeheartedly.”

In a nice touch, Fitbit will maintain services so that Pebble devices continue to work as normal, though these services will of course be reduced over time. But this will help in the transition, as would a Pebble trade-in program, guys. (Hint, hint.)

Anyway. It’s dead, Jim.


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Comments (17)

17 responses to “Pebble Shuts Down, Team Joins Fitbit”

  1. 4800

    It looks like the deal was structured so they wouldn't have to honor the Pebble equipment's warranty.  That looks bad for fitbit.

    • 5394

      In reply to lvthunder:

      No it wouldn't. Fitbit isn't acquiring Pebble. Fitbit isn't obligated to maintain Pebble so providing software support is a courtesy and helps to not brick it. Anyone who actually bought a Pebble should return it for a Fitbit.

      • 1816

        In reply to glenn8878:

        There is nothing in fitbit's current lineup that even bears a passing resemblance of what a Pebble offers. Currently the only alternative to Pebble is Android Wear or Apple Watch, based on one's mobile platform of choice. 

  2. 2611

    I think Pebble got the basics right - always on eInk, 5+ day battery life, simple functionality that does digital watch stuff + notifications.  They should continue to work ok since I'm not aware of any cloud delivered services from Pebble.  As long as they don't send out an app update that actively brakes things.

    • 5234

      In reply to ben55124:

      The takeaway quote was "current devices will continue to work - *for now*."

      • 2611

        In reply to Waethorn:

        I'm saying there is no reason for Pebbles to stop working.  They relay notifications from your phone, so no need for cloud services from Pebble.  You need the app installed on your phone, so they could remove that from the app stores, but existing users are ok.

  3. 412

    Sad to see this but it was expected. A decent device for what it was. 

    While not necessary to my life, I do use an Android Wear watch and I think it is quite underrated as a wearable OS. 

  4. 223

    I find I lack a distinct lack of f**ks to give for Pebble given how terribly they treated Microsoft and Windows Phone. After reading Daniel Rubino's article back in Feb 2015 on how that unmitigated a**clown Eric Migicovsky killed the app because of some frikkin bias, I found myself singularly taking a personal interest in Pebble's miseries. 

    Yeah, it's a bit petty - but at least I can admit it, which is more than Migicovsky could do. 

  5. 767

    Nice timing.  I just bought and fell in love with my pebble round.  I want a watch that looks great (thin and round) and extends my phone's functionality to my wrist.  I have my own exercise thing, and couldn't care less how many steps I walked, today.  I want to apologize to all of you Pebble owners.  My buying the Pebble watch was it's kiss of death.  It's much like when I switch to the short line in the grocery store and the line grinds to a halt.  Sorry, all. 

  6. 180

    Fitbit's notification/app side was always lacking, and their devices are (IMO) fugly. Pebble brings a lot to the table that Fitbit is missing, I'll be interested to see how the company develops after this acquisition. I really liked my original Pebble, but eventually moved on to other devices as my needs changed. Sad to see the company fold though.

  7. 5530

    This really sucks, I consider Pebble to be the gold standard for smartwatches - from the battery life, to the e-ink display that is always on and can be seen in daylight, to even the design of the interface of the OS. I love the idea of a smartwatch focused on your timeline of events in your calendar. It's just too bad that the CEO is kind of a dick (he personally shut down any co-operation with Microsoft for Windows phone, among other things) and their stubbornness to stop being hipsters on kickstarter really hurt them because that's not how any mature company should do distribution, I believe. It also doesn't help that kickstarter as a platform itself has taken a beating of its reputation over the years.

    Also, this lends a little more credibility to the idea that maybe Microsoft didn't miscalculate the timing of their exit from the wearables market and the Band.

    • 5234

      In reply to FalseAgent:

      Do you really blame a CEO for selling the company off when he didn't have a good enough business platform to get funding from traditional capital investors?


      This should be a wakeup call for anybody "investing" in something on Kickstarter or Indiegogo: if the business plan was good enough, the proposed investee would get money from a real capital investment firm, not the non-conservative public hipsters that seem intent on throwing money out the window lately.

      • 5530

        In reply to Waethorn:

        Well yeah I do blame the CEO for not being able to build a successful business model that investors would be interested in. Add this to the fact that Pebble has received acquisition offers with much larger sums and more favourable terms from Citizen and even Intel - despite key execs in Pebble threatening to quit. The CEO is an idiot that wanted to remain a kickfarter, and I believe that direction led to their demise. No way around this fact.

  8. 1775

    >...Fitbit will maintain services so that Pebble devices continue to work as normal, though these services will of course be reduced over time.
    Redundant since this was spelled out earlier.