Remember the Pebble smartwatch? Despite being officially discontinued and several years old at this point, there are still some diehard fans out there keeping the hardware alive, and a team called Rebble Alliance plays an important part in this. Whereas the web services for Pebble watches used to come from Pebble Technology Corp., they now come (unofficially) from Rebble, which has announced a new initiative called Rebble Grants.
The Pebble watch was first introduced to the public in 2012, later getting a release in multiple versions. The company didn’t last long, however, with Pebble discontinuing the watches and, in 2016, stopping all of its operations. The Pebble smartwatches — which are quite primitive compared to modern alternatives — were finally killed off by new owner Fitbit in 2018, but continue to live on due to Rebble.
Rebble Alliance is, as explained by iFixit in an editorial last year, a group of former Pebble employees like Katharine Berry, as well as enthusiasts who are working hard to keep the defunct hardware operational. Key to this is the Rebble web services, which includes a replacement cloud infrastructure that was coded by Berry over the course of a couple of weeks.
In an announcement this week, Rebble Alliance introduced Rebble Grants to fund efforts that will not only keep Pebble watches running, but also breathe new life into them. The team says they’ve been saving some of the funds received from running the Rebble web services and that they plan to invest $25,000 into a variety of Pebble-centric projects.
Among other things, Rebble Alliance hopes to fund new features for the Rebble web services, as well as a new Pebble mobile app replacement, boost development on the RebbleOS firmware replacement, and more. Those with the skills and free time necessary to participate can submit an application now for their own shot at a Rebble Grant.