FITBIT AC­QUIRES PEBBLE, PLANS TO SHUT IT DOWN

Qatar Today - - DEVELOPMENT > TECH TALK -

It was a sad day for Pebble loy­al­ists who woke up to the news that the scrappy yet trou­bled startup was be­ing ac­quired by be­he­moth Fitbit who had plans to shut down pro­duc­tion and re­di­rect re­sources and tech­nol­ogy into their own wear­ables line. Pebble helped to usher in the era of smart­watches with a suc­cess­ful Kick­starter cam­paign in 2012 for the Pebble e-pa­per watch. It made crowd­fund­ing his­tory last year when it raised a record $20.3 mil­lion to pro­duce its next-gen­er­a­tion Time smart­watch, earn­ing an­other $26 mil­lion ear­lier this year for its lat­est line-up. But the com­pany has been in trou­ble for a while. It had laid off 40 em­ploy­ees – about 25% of its to­tal staff – in March. Many of the re­main­ing team will join the Fitbit fam­ily to con­tinue work­ing on wear­able soft­ware plat­forms.

A week later it was an­nounced that Fitbit is “go­ing out of its way to keep Pebble soft­ware and ser­vices run­ning through 2017.” That means the Pebble mo­bile apps and app store will re­main in ser­vice for the time be­ing. “To be clear, no one on this freshly formed team seeks to brick Pebble watches in ac­tive ser­vice,” ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from Pebble. In the com­ing months, the Pebble/Fitbit team plans to up­date the Pebble mo­bile apps to en­sure that “core” watch func­tions con­tinue to work when cloud ser­vices are dis­con­tin­ued. The same may not be true for other “smart” fea­tures, how­ever, which may be de­pen­dent on third-party ser­vices.

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