Fitbit has finalised the acquisition of smartwatch maker Pebble. That being said, the sale only covered Pebble’s intellectual property and some personnel; and leaves out the entire hardware range. In other words, Pebble as we know it is gone, and the best parts have gone over to Fitbit.
This also means that Pebble will not be fulfilling orders for the Pebble 2, Time 2, Time Round, and the Core. Refunds are scheduled to be issued by 16 November, but those who were hoping to get their hands on the next generation of Pebble smartwatches are out of luck. However, a small number of Pebble 2’s were shipped before this announcement; and those lucky few will not be eligible for the refund.
Existing Pebble devices will continue to work as normal, but the Pebble team warns that the quality of service will degrade over time. The team hasn’t ruled out releasing software updates in the future, but warns that it is highly unlikely that this will happen.
Fitbit has not disclosed the amount it is paying for Pebble, although sources have told Bloomberg that it is less that $40 million (about RM150 million). The amount is less than Pebble’s debts; and means that the other portions of the company – like its remaining inventory and servers – will be sold off separately. The word is that Fitbit is not taking on Pebble’s debts as part of the sale.
Pebble as a company has had a tumultuous past. Despite having the two most successful Kickstarter campaigns in history, it has failed to turn a real profit. The original Pebble was a massive hit, and yet the company had to turn to Kickstarter to finance its second generation. This may have been warning sign as to the financial health of the wearable maker.