Fitbit Will Maintain Pebble Watch Smartwatch Services Through 2017 For Anxious Owners
Smartwatch maker Pebble recently sold itself to Fitbit
, saying that it could no longer function as an independent entity due to "various factors," which we presumed to mean financial—the company previously laid off a quarter of its workforce
and followed by an industry wide precipitous drop in smartwatch sales
. That's obviously concerning news for Pebble smartwatch owners, though Fitbit has promised to support the Pebble experience through next year.
"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," Fitbit said.
The company also noted that Pebble developers can continue to create and update apps, and that Pebble users should expect to keep enjoying their smartwatches. Fitbit said its first course of action is to preserve the Pebble experience, both now and "far into the future." That strategy entails updating its mobile apps and loosening dependency on various cloud services (authentication, analytics, app locker, and so forth). To that end, an update will be rolled out in the coming months.
Fitbit also reassures users that Pebble Health will continue to work just as it does today following the update. Since Health API data is not dependent on cloud services, it will be fed directly into the Pebble mobile app, Apple HealthKit,and Google Fit.
As for supporting third-party services, this is something that Fitbit is looking into but not making any promises for. These include features such as dictation, messaging, weather, etc.
"The Pebble community always filled in the gaps our small team needed help with, and you continue to do so. We’ve seen a massive influx of community developers teaming up to keep the Pebble watch experience alive, long into the future, Fitbit said.