Pebble was a pioneer in the smartwatch market, thriving off of Kickstarter success and a brand new device category. The original Pebble had its shortcomings, but it was one of the first actual smartwatches you could buy, and it wasn’t crazy expensive.
The Pebble Time refined the watch by giving it a sleeker design and a colorful e-ink screen, which I personally liked enough to use every day for the past.
That chapter is finally coming to a close for Pebble, however. We’d heard rumors that Fitbit was planning an acquisition of Pebble after several months of uncertainty from Pebble, and that deal closed up this morning. Fitbit will be taking over the talent and software from Pebble, but they’re cutting the hardware portion of the business.
So from Fitbit’s end, you’ll probably see some of Pebble’s OS bleed into Fitbit software. The cheerful timeline view and app store will more than likely not be on a Fitbit anytime soon, but some of the underlying bits and algorithms can be useful to Fitbit. However, with the hardware department of the company gone, that means that Pebble is immediately ceasing production, manufacturing, or promoting of any of its devices.
Your current Pebble watch will work for the foreseeable future, but quality might take a dip in the future. Don’t expect any updates (except to make the Pebble less reliant on any cloud services to prolong its lifespan) but you can keep using it as-is until it breaks. Warranty support is gone, and you’ll have to third-party for any replacement cables or parts.
If you backed the new Pebble Time watches on Kickstarter, Pebble will be issuing refunds. Since manufacturing is immediately discontinued, all of the current watches are also unavailable on Pebble’s website, too.
Time to start looking for a new smartwatch.