Pebble update disconnects reliance on the cloud

Anyone who uses cloud services extensively probably has experience with some service they like and use shutting down, leaving them scrambling for a new solution. It happens with small companies as they get absorbed or go out of business and it can happen with giant corporations like Google with its propensity to shutdown services. This kind of situation has leaked over to impact hardware users when Fitbit acquired Pebble last year. Pebble, which relies on the cloud for both basic and advanced features, indicated last December they were planning to keep things running through the end of 2017 while they explored methods to prevent their devices from being bricked when the cloud servers shutdown. An update to address the issue is starting to rollout now for the iOS platform and presumably an Android update is on the way.

The update that started rolling out this week eliminates the need for Pebble smartwatches to connect to cloud services to keep functioning. Users will be able to side load apps and they will still have a path to install new firmware. By removing the reliance on the cloud, Pebble devices will continue to function with at least basic features when the Pebble servers shut down.

A big question that remains though is what will happen to some of the advanced services Pebble users currently have access to. Those features include things like messaging, dictation  and weather information. Access to those services could be maintained by pointing the devices to a different source. That assumes that can be achieved via an update to the code and that Fitbit is able and willing to secure agreements with these alternative providers to allow access.

Also included in the update that is rolling out is the removal of options that give users access to customer support and the ability to request a new feature via the Pebble app.

At last check, no update for the Pebble app is available in the Google Play Store with the latest version dating back to November 2016.

source: The Verge


About the Author: Jeff Causey

Raised in North Carolina, Jeff Causey is a licensed CPA in North Carolina. Jeff's past Android devices include an HTC EVO, a Samsung Note II, and an LG G3, and a Motorola Moto X Pure Edition along with a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1. He currently uses a Samsung Galaxy S8 and (very rarely) a Nexus 7 (2013). He is also using a Verizon-branded Motorola Moto Z Play Droid supplied by his job. Jeff used to have a pair of Google Glass and a Moto 360 Sport in his stable of gadgets. Unfortunately, his wife and kids have all drunk the Apple Kool-Aid and have i-devices. Life at home often includes demonstrations of the superiority of his Android based devices. In his free time, Jeff is active in his church, a local MINI Cooper car club, and his daughter's soccer club. Jeff is married, has three kids, and a golden retriever.


  • Jean-Francois Messier

    The latest version available from Google Play is 4.3, unless you go to opt-in for the Beta, which is open to anyone at this point. Once there, your app will soon be updated to version 4.4. You can also force the update to happen. However, over 12 hours after the software was updated on my cell phone to 4.4, I still only see 4.3 on my watch. If I ask for Help -> Check for update, I still get the message that “Now your Pebble is up to date.”, so I expect there will be a firmware update as well coming soon.

    • John Vander Stel

      How would one optin for the beta? Who must I contact?

      • John Vander Stel

        I found it.

  • John Vander Stel

    I found it now.