Smartwatch maker Pebble discontinues brand after Fitbit acquisition

The connected health and fitness market just became a little smaller.

Wearable activity tracking technology company Fitbit announced on Dec. 7 that it had acquired specific assets of Pebble, including key personnel and software and firmware development-related intellectual property.

“While dissolving Pebble as you know today is difficult, I am happy to announce that many members of Team Pebble will be joining the Fitbit family to continue their work on wearable software platforms,” Eric Migicovsky, Pebble’s founder and CEO, said in a Dec. 7 statement. “Pebble’s successful approach to third-party wearable development is undeniable, and Fitbit is welcoming our expertise in this space wholeheartedly.”

One of the better-known smartwatch brands, Pebble will no longer promote, manufacture or sell its watches, but will ensure that existing devices continue to work as normal, Migicovsky said, noting that Pebble functionality and service may be reduced in the future.

Fitbit CEO and co-founder James Park, meanwhile, said his company saw its acquisition of Pebble as an opportunity to both extend its leadership position in the wearables market while building the strengths of its own product.

“With this acquisition, we’re well positioned to accelerate the expansion of our platform and ecosystem to make Fitbit a vital part of daily life for a wider set of consumers,” he said in Fitbit’s own Dec. 7 statement regarding the deal.

Pebble, which initially funded its watches through a Kickstarter campaign in 2012, said in Migicovsky’s Dec. 7 blog post that because of “various factors” it could no longer operate as an independent entity, and thus will not be honouring existing warranties, nor will it be accepting or fulfilling any online orders. However, it will be offering refunds to those who returned online orders before Dec. 7 and refund Kickstarter backers who have not received their rewards yet. Any watches purchased at retailers can be returned or exchanged.

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Mandy Kovacs
Mandy Kovacs
Mandy is a lineup editor at CTV News. A former staffer at IT World Canada, she's now contributing as a part-time podcast host on Hashtag Trending. She is a Carleton University journalism graduate with extensive experience in the B2B market. When not writing about tech, you can find her active on Twitter following political news and sports, and preparing for her future as a cat lady.

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