I am a geek about tech gadgets (nerd?) – I really like them! I like to mess around with them and put them through their paces and then I typically move on until I find that piece that I really need. I wrote the other day about a company that really had the breakthrough in the smartwatch market, Pebble, and how they were going to be acquired by FitBit. Well, this announcement has come and with it, the death of what might possibly have been the best piece of sports tech in 2016.
The Death of the Pebble Core
I have, and will keep, an original Pebble smartwatch. Its lightweight, the battery lasts a long time, and it was cheap. I don’t wear it anymore (that is my Garmin Fenix 3) but something that will stay in the drawer and make occasional appearances.
The Pebble Core – The Best Sports Tech That Never Came
The Pebble smartwatch had grown from the original and this last model was the best yet. Not only did Pebble continue to develop and encourage software development for their products, but this year they introduced what I thought could be the best sports tech of the year – the Pebble Core.
I was so fascinated by this device and what it promised that I immediately backed the Kickstarter project for it – and then grabbed another one to giveaway on the blog here as well. This little device had a 3G radio, bluetooth, GPS, integration with Amazon’s Alexa, complete hack-ability to make it into a great device beyond running and it did it all for the price of $69. Between what it promised and the price, that is why I felt it was the best sports tech of the year, at least in the running/fitness market.
The Pebble Core – Goodbye
The original ship date was for January and I was anxious to have it become part of my daily accessories. I really was looking forward to what it had to offer. But, with talks of an acquisition, it began to look like this device would not be shipped.
On Wednesday, Pebble confirmed the sad, disappointing news – the Pebble Core would not be coming. So far, I am 0/2 (or maybe 0/1.5 as I still am waiting for a device that is over-schedule by 2 years) with Kickstarter projects and I thought a Pebble device was a sure thing. At least Pebble has said that it will be refunding those that ordered the products that will not ship and the refund will be coming this month (moved up from the original date of March).
Here is what Pebble said about this transaction:
- 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.
- Kickstarter backers will get refunds for any unfulfilled rewards by March 2017.
- One-to-one Pebble support is no longer available.
- Warranty support is no longer available for Pebble watches.
- All unfulfilled pebble.com orders will be canceled and—if payment was taken—refunded.
- Returns of pebble.com orders successfully completed before December 7, 2016 will be processed and refunded by our Support Team.
- Pebble watches purchased at retail may be returned or exchanged based on the retailer’s return policy.
- Pebblers can still find replacement charging cables and other compatible accessories (bands, skins, etc.) from Amazon.com and third-party vendors like GadgetWraps and Clockwork Synergy.
- Developers have an exciting opportunity to reach and delight over 50 million users and counting.
The word is that FitBit is looking for the technology and intellectual property from Pebble (as well as offering jobs to 40% of their workforce) and will not be continuing Pebble hardware. That’s ok with me about the smartwatch but I really hope they pick up the Pebble Core and run with it. I think it would be a big seller even at the $99 price-point but we will have to wait and see.
So, while the death of the Pebble Core is here, I for one hope that the Core will see the masses at some point even under a different name.
Did you back the Pebble Core or other Pebble device?