It looks like the rumors were true – Fitbit has closed a deal to purchase rival smartwatch maker Pebble. The buyout was confirmed by Pebble just a few minutes ago, and unfortunately, this acquisition means the end of the line for Pebble’s products. Pebble will now cease making hardware, and all Pebble devices that were in development have been cancelled.
This affects consumers in a few ways. Pebble says that existing, active hardware out in the wild will continue to work for the time being. However, that won’t be the case forever, as Pebble founder Eric Migicovsky notes that “Pebble functionality or service quality may be reduced in the future.”
While it’s good that existing Pebble watches will continue to work, there’s quite a bit of bad news for consumers here. For instance, support for existing watches is ending today, and all active warranties on Pebble watches are void. In other words, if you own a Pebble that should still be under warranty and something goes wrong, you’re basically left out in the cold.
There aren’t any options for returns if you ordered your watch through pebble.com, either. Pebble says that any returns that were processed and completed on or before December 7 will still go through, but with today being the cutoff date, Pebble is essentially saying that if you haven’t returned your watch yet, you’re out of luck. The company does note that Pebble watches purchased through retail might still be returned, depending on that retail store’s return policy.
Make no mistake: the Pebble you knew yesterday ceases to exist today. Some of the Pebble development team will be jumping over to Fitbit, but this announcement makes it pretty clear that Fitbit doesn’t have any intention of continuing the Pebble brand or supporting what’s left of it. We’ll likely see what Fitbit has to say about the acquisition shortly, so stay tuned for that.