Pebble is dead

Posted by , 8 December 2016

There will be no more Pebble smartwatches. I loved mine, but now its time to move on.

Nearly three years ago, I wrote about retiring my old Pulsar watch in favour of a new Pebble smartwatch. In my review of the Pebble I wrote about how it ticked all of the boxes for me.

Since that time, many new smartwatches have come on to the market and in 2016 Pebble ran another Kickstarter campaign to fund the development of a new round of watches. I really liked the look of the planned Pebble Time 2 with it’s smaller bezel allowing for a bigger display and the overall maturing of the platform. I held off backing the project but kept up to date with the projects and was pleased when people started receiving their Pebble 2 watches.

And then there was silence.

Today, we learn that Pebble is no more. Pebble has sold its assets to Fitbit but there will be no more watches and support for the platform will decline. Interestingly, this news coincided with my own Pebble starting to play up – I think it might have been one of the software updates that has made the screen display almost unusable.

What do I think?

Yes, I’m sad to see Pebble disappear. I liked their concept (simple device, long battery life, just enough functionality) and I liked the idea of supporting a small player in the market who was doing something different. As usual, the popularity of smart watches and wearables means the market is now consolidating around a few giant companies with products that are starting to coalesce around a common feature set.

But unlike many of the backers of the last Kickstarter campaign, I don’t feel any particular rage about this decision. Kickstarter campaigns are always risky – you’re not buying a product but backing a company who may eventually ship a product to you. And people are getting a refund anyway. Kickstarter exposes us to the vagaries of start-ups and we have be part of that ride if we participate.

Overall, I’m grateful to Pebble for providing a cheap, rugged and functional introduction to smartwatches for me. It was something I was happy to wear every day (although vibration alerts had died some time ago making it somewhat less useful).

Now it’s time for me to move on …

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