Following its acquisition by Fitbit last week, Pebble has reassured its smartwatch owners that they aren’t about to suddenly stop working.
There’s much uncertainty around the future of its watchers after the announcement of the deal. Fitbit bought Pebble for its patents and tech not its smartwatch business, which is ominous for anyone who wears one.
Pebble hasn’t made any guarantee about the future of its services, but today it did confirm that it intends to keep its watches ticking throughout 2017 at least:
Fitbit is going out of its way to keep Pebble software and services running through 2017. To be clear, no one on this freshly-formed team seeks to brick Pebble watches in active service. The Pebble SDK, CloudPebble, Timeline APIs, firmware availability, mobile apps, developer portal, and Pebble appstore are all elements of the Pebble ecosystem that will remain in service at this time.
Of course the future of third-party apps — which are what makes any smartwatch ‘smart’ — are less clear. Developers know better than to spend their precious time on a sinking platform, so you wouldn’t expect that many apps will stop running in the future. Pebble did say it has “seen a massive influx of community developers teaming up to keep the Pebble watch experience alive, long into the future,” but it isn’t clear exactly what that will mean for its apps.
It is confirmed that Pebble’s cloud services will close down and, in the short term, the team is working on an update that will “ensure the operation of core Pebble functions… won’t break functionality” once that happens. Pebble Health is one part of the watch experience that will continue following that update, which is expected to be released over the coming months.
Despite these efforts, Pebble owners should probably start looking for a new smartwatch for next year. That’s assuming that they haven’t joined the masses in becoming disillusioned with wearables.