Pebble confirms Fitbit sale: Hardware is dead, software in maintenance mode

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Enlarge / Pebble’s Time 2 will be its swan song. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Pebble, the onetime darling of Kickstarter backers everywhere, has had a rough year. Despite the launch of the Pebble 2 this fall, the company had to lay off 25 percent of its workforce in March. And late last week, news broke that it would be selling to fitness wearable company FitBit for somewhere between $34 and $40 million. That paltry sum is about half of the $70 million that Intel allegedly offered for the company in early 2016, and it’s just a fraction of the $740 million that Citizen reportedly offered in 2015. It’s also a little less than the roughly $43 million that the company has cumulatively raised across its $10.2 million, $20.3 million, and $12.8 million Kickstarter pledge drives since April 2012.

Today Pebble confirmed the sale and outlined next steps on its blog, its Kickstarter page, and its support site, and the news is pretty dire for any Pebble die-hards who remained steadfast in the face of Android Wear and the Apple Watch. Pebble is getting out of the hardware business entirely, ceasing production on all current products and issuing Kickstarter refunds for any backers of the Pebble 2 who hasn’t gotten their watch yet—the company has already “shipped every Pebble 2 possible,” and the Pebble Time 2, Pebble Core, and Pebble Time Round will never see the light of day. Backers eligible for a refund will automatically be credited for their pledges as well as for shipping costs and taxes by March of 2017.

As for Pebble watches that are already out in the world, they’ll continue to work for now, but “functionality or service quality may be reduced in the future.” The company also says it doesn’t plan to offer regular software updates or new features for its existing watches—this doesn’t preclude the possibility of bug fix releases, but don’t get your hopes up for much else.

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