Pebble is no more Pebble
The announcement of Pebble’s acquisition on December 6, 2016, by Fitbit shocked the Pebble community. Fitbit, the #1 of activity trackers in the world, obtained the Pebble’s assets for 40 million dollars. Only part of the activity will be retained: OS and software development; hardware products disappear.
To go back on Pebble’s itinerary, the company is best known for being the first designer of smartwatch, iOS and Android compatible, in April 2012 through Kickstarter’s crowdfunding platform. Its first watch was called Pebble, quite simply. A smartwatch with a black and white e-paper screen, customizable at will, with 7 days of autonomy.
In February 2015, Pebble returned on Kickstarter to launch its new smartwatches: Pebble Time and Time Steel. 2 new watches with still non tactile but color screen, always such customizable, for almost 10 days of autonomy. The success was phenomenal: 1 million dollars in 49 minutes, about 10 million in 2 days surpassing the first crowdfunding campaign, finally peaking at over 20 million dollars and 78,471 bakers in a month.
But at the beginning of 2016, Pebble had to separate from 25% of the workforce. Eric Migicovsky, Pebble’s CEO, tells a posteriori that he had not seen the importance of activity trackers early enough. The final Kickstarter campaign of May 2016 showed it: new products were resolutely oriented towards fitness and well-being. Unfortunately too late for the current market.
Less than 5 years after its first smartwatch, Pebble is no more. Its backers, of which I was part for the second campaign, and customers have first seen a superb technological adventure disappear. A small but important idea missed Pebble to be yet here today and reality is there: Pebble is dead. Fortunately, a community took over the torch 3 days after the acquisition. And we are already seeing a new chapter taking shape with Rebble, the “Rebirth of Pebble”. Pebble, as we knew it, will die slowly and come back through another form, probably more accessible to geeks than to newcomers.
Copyright from Pebble and S.Muteau