We reported on Fitbit's interest in Pebble earlier this month, but today they have made it final. The popular wearables manufacturer said they are no longer able to operate as an independent entity going forward and as of today it will stop promoting, manufacturing, and selling all devices.
The growing competition from other brands like Motorola, Samsung, and Apple, as well as other factors, have led to the decision to shut down the company.
Pebble started as a Kickstarter project in 2012 just as wearables were coming on to the market. Since then, their products have grown from a rough concept to numerous well polished smartwatches. Having shipped more than 2 million units, Pebble was certainly on the forefront of the wearable adoption. Future devices like the Pebble 2 and Pebble Core that were already available for pre-order, will be canceled with backers receiving a full refund.
The announcement comes as Fitbit finalizes their plans to purchase Pebble's software assets. The dissolving of Pebble will sting for die-hard fans who oppose Android Wear and the Apple Watch, but it's not necessarily the end of Pebble as a whole. Any devices currently out in the world will continue to work, although functionality or service may be reduced in the future. Fitbit hopes to use technology from the Pebble operating system in their own products, but will not be offering any support or service for existing Pebble products, nor will it be producing any new Pebble-branded products.
Back in 2015 Pebble turned down a deal from Citizen, who were reportedly willing to buy them for $740 million. Pebble also blocked a purchase offer from Intel worth $70 million. The deal today from Fitbit is estimated at between $34 million and $40 million which is also less than the $43 million Pebble had raised on Kickstarter. Fitbit has offered jobs to around 40% of Pebble staff.