Fitness Gear

The Best Piece of Sports Tech in 2016 – That Never Was

pebble core
Written by Charlie

It is sad to know that the death of the Pebble Core has come. It was going to be such an exciting, innovative product for sports technology and it is sad to not see it come.

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.

Pebble Core

The new Pebble Core fitness device for runners – that will never come

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

Pebble Core

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 orders will be canceled and—if payment was taken—refunded.
  • Returns of 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 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?

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • If they had been honorable… then fitbit would have carried thru w/ the Kickstart program and warranty program much as Apple did when it took over Beata headphones. But they didn’t, and i will not give one penny to Fitbit come hell or high water.

    • I think you should start a petition to have the CEO of Fitbit either honor the development or open source the plans so we can build it. I’m sure there is an Asian factory that would make them for a reasonable price.

  • I’m with Jerry. The way Fitbit have handled this is dishonourable and disappointing.

    Even if they do decide to produce a version of the Core at any point in the future, I will not be giving them my money. In fact I will not be purchasing any Fitbit products after this. I will not support such a dishonorable company.