Fitbit close to buying Pebble, Time 2 and Pebble Core could be killed off

Fitbit is reportedly getting ready to acquire Pebble's software assets. Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg notes that the deal is valued at under $40 million, and will include hiring Pebble's software engineers as well as the company's IP — its watch operating system, watch apps, and cloud services:

The purchase price is less than $40 million, and Pebble's debt and other obligations exceed that, two of the people said. Fitbit is not taking on the debt, one of the people said. The rest of Pebble's assets, including product inventory and server equipment, will be sold off separately, some of the people said. An announcement is imminent, the people added.

Pebble's latest watches — the Time 2 and Pebble Core — will be canceled as a result of the sale, and customers that have ordered through Kickstarter will receive refunds. If the sale goes through, Pebble's engineers will relocate to Fitbit's offices in San Francisco, and the company's offices will be closed. Fitbit reportedly rolled out job offers to several of Pebble's software engineers, although it looks like most hardware engineers and interface designers will be let go.

According to IDC, the wearable segment saw a meager 3.1% YoY increase in shiments this quarter, with fitness bands accounting for 85% of the 23 million shipments. Fitbit led the pack with 5.3 million shipments this quarter on the back of Charge HR and Charge 2, but the company's stock continues to decline on account of the slow growth in the segment. An announcement is said to be imminent, so we should hear something official soon.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

  • I kind of suspected that something like this was going to happen when Pebble stopped talking about the Time 2 and Core in their Kickstarter campaign update emails, and then stopped sending out meaningful communications altogether a few weeks ago. It's a real shame, though. A buyout by Fitbit wouldn't be bad if they would continue to develop and sell Pebble devices under the Fitbit name, but this means that the only smartwatch line that meets my needs is going away.
  • Here's hoping that meizu band makes its way to the states haha.
  • I litterlay just opened my pebble 2 like an hour ago.. Any word if they are going to continue to support the devices?
  • I'd return it if I were you. It looks like the Pebble app will no longer be updated, so the first Android OS update that causes issues with the Pebble app or the device's connection will not be fixed on Pebble's end. I don't think we can reasonably expect any current Pebble model to still be a viable device once our phones get updated to Android O. From the Kickstarter update I received this morning: "Active Pebble watches will work normally for now. Functionality or service quality may be reduced down the road. We don’t expect to release regular software updates or new Pebble features. Our new mission will focus on bringing Pebble’s unique wearables expertise to future Fitbit products. We’re also working to reduce Pebble's reliance on cloud services, letting all Pebble models stay active long into the future." Edit: If you bought your Pebble from their website, you can't return it. If you bought it from a retailer, you may be able to. From later in the same email: "Those who ordered and received a Pebble from are no longer eligible for return or exchange."
  • Damn, I was really looking forward to the new Time 2. Everything else sucks on battery life and is just too overly complex.
  • Me, too. I was planning to buy the the Time 2 and Pebble Core to replace my Sony Smartwatch 3 as a running watch. I have never owned a Pebble before and now it appears that I never will.
  • Sad...I've been through both Samsung Tizen and Android wear, but Pebble was the most useful...
  • I was really looking forward to the Pebble Time 2. I love my Pebble Steel watch and always get complements and questions about it. The I hope Fitbit will reconsider and keep some of the Pebble hardware, I love the always on display, it's battery life and readability in all lighting. It would be awesome if Fitbit added their fitness and health trackers to the "Pebble Time 2" packages then added wireless charging for the cherry on top.
  • too bad about pebble core... we could use a player with offline spotify playlists
  • It's officially official.
  • Glad I didn't back this Kickstarter, I found the fitness focus to be pretty off-putting and I hardly ever where my Pebble Time Steel anymore. I bet they wish they would have sold when they were offered 740 million by Citizen.
  • What an incredible loss, Pebble did exactly what i needed in a smartwatch. Battery life, always on, controllable without looking at the screen. With the core it would have been a perfect jogging companion. So bummed right now.