Outside of big brands like Apple and Samsung, there are only two companies that really define wearables: Pebble and Fitbit. Fitbit is the hugely successful fitness tracker brand that’s been struggling to make a device that isn’t just long-lasting and great at tracking steps, but as functional as an Apple Watch. Pebble is the smartwatch brand that’s built such a device. According to a report from The Information, these two companies are about to join forces, with Engadget reporting that Fitbit will be buying Pebble for $US34 to 40 million ($45 to 50 million).
Image: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo
Pebble has been having some difficulties and according to Engadget has been looking to sell for some time now. Last year, the Pebble Time Round failed to wow wearable fans more impressed by all the features included in pricier competitors such as the Apple Watch — which, as far as consumers are concerned, is the current gold standard of wearables. Pebble’s also struggled with consumers’ general disinterest in wearables and smartwatches in particular. Back in March, Pebble was forced to lay off 25 per cent of its workforce due to declining sales.
But many fans were hoping that Pebble could turn things around with the new Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 when the company launched a Kickstarter campaign for the gorgeous new devices just back in October. The crowdfunding campaign currently has more than 66,000 backers and has earned more than 12 times its $US1,000,000 ($1,352,925) goal.
Those devices are still expected to ship to backers in January 2017. But if Fitbit does buy Pebble, then the 2 and Time 2 will likely be the last Pebble branded wearables you’ll ever see. According to Engadget, Fitbit is buying the company to have access to its tech, not the brand or product line up. That’s great for Fitbit, who could put the tech into its trackers and also finally build a decent smartwatch. Less great for Pebble and fans of its e-ink smartwatches.
We reached out to both Fitbit and Pebble for additional comment but had not heard back at time of writing.