Yesterday, the smartwatch maker (and Kickstarter wunderkind) Pebble announced that it had been acquired by Fitbit. According to their email to customers:
“Fitbit has agreed to acquire key Pebble assets. Due to various factors, Pebble can no longer operate as an independent entity, and we have made the tough decision to shut down the company… We are no longer manufacturing, promoting, or selling any new products. Active Pebble models in the wild will continue to work… Much of our team and resources will join Fitbit to deliver new “moments of awesome” in future Fitbit products, developer tools, and experiences. As our transition progresses, we’ll have exciting new stories to tell and milestones to celebrate.”
As a Pebble customer, I greeted this news with no small amount of regret. I bought my very first smartwatch from Pebble during one of their Kickstarter campaigns, and since receiving it last Fall, the watch has become a integral part of both my wardrobe and lifestyle. I keep track of the time during my bike commute to work. I check my daily step count throughout the day. I triage incoming emails and messages when my phone is out of reach. And I often find myself downloading new watch faces or shopping online for new watchbands to update the look of my watch (in fact, I just bought a couple NATO bands from Fossil over the Black Friday weekend). I was never a watch person growing up, but my Pebble Time Steel has converted me.
Now I feel like the clock is ticking (pun intended) on my beloved watch. In the short term, my Pebble watch should continue to work as it always has, but given that I’m wearing a miniature computer on my wrist, I can’t rely on any sort of longevity (especially compared to a traditional wrist watch). So what shall I do when I inevitably need a replacement? Do I hope that Fitbit eventually makes a spiritual successor to the Pebble, maybe through an updated version of the Fitbit Blaze? Or do I start looking at other watch makers? I doubt I’ll jump into the world of Apple or Android watches, but maybe the Fossil Q or Withings Activité watches will suffice. Who knows: I might even like those watches better than my Pebble Time Steel.
But no matter what may happen in the future, I’ll always have a spot in my heart for Pebble (right next to the spot for Google Reader).