I saw this the other day and this was a bit of a shocker to me! If you are into technology or fitness tech, you have likely heard of Pebble. They were the creators of the biggest Kickstarter campaigns and the original smartwatch of the last several years that really began to push the fight for smartwatches – all the way up to the big boys, Samsung and Apple. They have made some great advancements but it seems that that may all be over as Pebble is in talks to be bought by FitBit.
A Note from Pebble on Reddit confirms that they will be bought by FitBit and that the money problems are due to the costs of the watches that they have not yet shipped to Kickstarter backers
Second Edit: Apparently, the above Reddit was from Pebble’s account which had been hacked. Here is their updated post.
Pebble In Talks To Be Acquired By FitBit
Former Pebble Deals
I actually purchased the original Pebble smartwatch and still have it around. It was fantastic in that it was light and powered by an e-ink screen which meant it did not have to be charged everyday (like the Apple Watch does). They were also possible to pick up very cheap before Cowboom closed their doors – I saw many for sale in good shape for around $28. Not bad!
New Watches and Pebble Core
Since their original smartwatch, Pebble has pushed it a bit further every year with more innovations and app developer adoption. In fact, this year, their newest editions included a really great looking watch available to backers who backed the other watches at first. They also introduced a truly innovative produce called Pebble Core. I even backed that one and have anxiously been looking forward to their original shipping timeframe of January. I am really excited about it and really hope they end up shipping them.
Unfortunately, the Pebble Time 2, which was to have shipped last month, has not yet shipped and no updates are being given. This is very unlike Pebble and likely has something to do with the acquisition talks that are in the works. Pebble has been struggling financially this year, even with their fantastic new products. Hopefully, all their Kickstarter backers get what they had paid for. If FitBit does take them over, I would imagine they would not want thousands of angry, former Pebble fans to have to persuade to come buy whatever products they develop with the Pebble IP so we will have to see.
The Reported Deal for Pebble to be Acquired by FitBit
The shame of this, at least for Pebble, is that their CEO reportedly turned down an offer from watchmaker Citizen last year for over $500 million and possibly up to $740 million! Now, the talks are reportedly centering between $30 – 40 million – a huge devaluation for their CEO and the company. Apparently, FitBit is really only interested in the IP and not the devices themselves as FitBit tries to push more into the wearable market against makers like Garmin and Apple.
Talk about feeling really bad about your decisions – I am sure the decision makers at Pebble are really sick right now. It will be sad to see Pebble go but I hope FitBit can really do something interesting with their technology. It seems like it has been a hard year for some tech companies as even the original action camera king GoPro is in big trouble.
Have you purchased a Pebble smartwatch before? What do you think about it?
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