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Pebble set to lay off a quarter of its staff this week

Pebble Time
Pebble Time (Image credit: Android Central)

Pebble, the company behind the popular smartwatches, will lay off 40 employees this week, or about 25% of its current staff. CEO Eric Migicovsky put the blame for the layoffs on a more difficult fundraising environment, and while the company did raise money, investors have been a little more cautious.

Pebble will put more of a focus on health, and will expand availability of its products as it looks ahead. From Tech Insider:

Moving forward, Migicovsky said he wants Pebble to focus on the health and fitness aspects of the company's wearables, which he says most users are interested in. The company will also start selling its products in India next month through a partnership with Amazon.

A Pebble spokesperson confirmed to us that the majority of the layoffs were based in the company's San Francisco office, and that all divisions of the company were affected. "This has been a tough day for Eric and the entire team," the spokesperson said.

In recent months, Pebble has been putting more of an emphasis on health and fitness, launching Pebble Health, which offers both activity and sleep tracking. The company also recently made permanent price cuts to its two newest smartwatches, the Pebble Time and the Pebble Time Round.

  • No surprise there. Pebble may be good for what it was meant for but the market is about to be a mimic of the smartphone market. Dominated by a duopoly. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I love my PTR!
  • Thank you Pebble for kicking off the revolution. Unfortunately you were a stopgap until the big players took interest.
  • After two years, I still use my Pebble Steel every day. It still gets the job done for me, and I really appreciate that Pebble filled that early niche in the smartwatch marketplace. When it is no longer serviceable, though, I won't be looking at any newer Pebble product for its replacement.
  • My thoughts exactly. Posted via the Android Central App
  • pebble is cool and all but it looks and acts like a kid toy compared to Wear and Fruit Watch. This is not surprising
  • I hope they continue to do good. I've been using an android wear Asus Zen watch and to be honest, kinda miss my pebble. If you're reading this, Sprint worked today!
  • I just went from a Zen to a Pebble Time Steel & the Steel is a far better experience. Does what you want and doesn't bother you otherwise, also battery lasts over 1 wk. Has voice functions also.
  • Sorry to the staff members that will be laid off. As for the Pebble company, I could care less. What they did with the PTR and those of us who backed their KS for the PT (some of us Day 1 original Pebble loyal fans), was a monumental FU. Twas a consumer burn I will never forget nor forgive. RIP Pebble, you won't be missed.
  • I agree. I bought the KS PT and it seems like they lowered prices almost immediately after and the followed up with the PTR. Love my PT but I do feel ripped off a bit. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Echo those comments. Also I think pricing got away from them. I switched from the PT to the PTS, got it way late, paid $250+ when android watches were going for over $300. Now I can get a zenwatch 2 for $130 (less than regular PT) or a LG Watch Urbane for $200 (no price drop on PTS so less than that too). They need to better articulate their value proposition otherwise nobody will see the difference but nerds.
  • Yup, same here. Took forever to get my metal band for the PTS. Not going as far as to say I won't ever buy them again but definitely won't be KS'ing anything from them again.
  • That really sucks but Pebble didn't follow up with a strong second or third round punch. They were too introspective and were not paying attention to what was going on around them.
  • Exactly. VZW Moto X DE/N7
  • Pebble the kodak of smartwatches Posted via Note 5 or LG G3 or V10 or nexus 6
  • *Edit..... "The BlackBerry of smartwatches..." Posted via Android Central App
  • Love my Pebble Time, they should pack up and leave that expensive HQ in San Francisco. My Pebble still does everything that I want, I couldn't live with a watch with maybe a full day battery life and something I could not see in the bright sun and snow conditions. Hope this is just a smart move and not the beginning of the end. Nexus 6P
  • I had a similar thought when I read the sentence about their HQ being in SF. Veeeery expensive rent. Move down to Silicon Valley and cut overhead. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Am I the only one that really doesn't care about the health/fitness part of wearables? I would much rather have a watch that doesn't suffer size bloat to accommodate a dozen fitness sensors at the expense of battery life and useful features.
  • Same here. VZW Moto X DE/N7
  • Agreed Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yup, I don't care either.
  • They will be gone within two years...beginning of the end unfortunately... Posted via the Android Central App
  • I really hope that they can turn things around. They are really the only viable smart watch for me. Unfortunately this will be a tough journey in my opinion. Especially with the competition and this kind of press. Not too happy about it either as I really like my PT. Really long battery life and being waterproof are two key features for me. This thing had been swimming, in hot tubs, and white water rafting. It also does everything I need it to do. If I have to start worrying about battery life and what I may plan to do for the day I may just go back to an old Casio G Shock and forget the smart watch.
  • Given the watches they produce they should concentrate on the kids market
    I mean cmon the new pebbles look like a kids smart watch bulky Posted via the Android Central App
  • +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yes, will cherish my Kickstarter edition Pebble but moved on to an LG watch several months ago. It was a great product in its time.
  • I love my pebble time... I sold my gear S and my fitbit Blaze for it. It's wonderful. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Sorry for their employees.You can't expect your business model to simply be going back over and over for rounds of funding.After one or two rounds of funding you need to be able to stand on your own as a business or you are simply not viable. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's difficult to run a company, so I sympathize. That being said, the Pebble Time (imho) looks like a children's toy. I can't see any watch enthusiast taking that design seriously. Seemed like a step back from their 2nd gen design. I genuinely do feel bad for the company and the layoffs, though. It'll be a great resume builder, they'll always have respect for being a pioneer. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Have to laugh at this. It makes it seems like it's a large company we are talking about with massive layoffs. 40 people and 25% of their workforce. Feel bad for those getting laid off, but news flash you are a cockroach of a company if you still need to rely on investments to get the job done. If you need to keep doing crowd source fundraising after your first product, you are not a company. Kevin O'Leary would crush these fools under his heel!
  • It shows you how a small company with a few people can make a product recognized by tons of people worldwide.
  • The wearable market is still in it's infancy in many ways. I still see it as a niche product though. It's biggest users are either those that need fitness tracking, techy types who like gadgets, and those that have a need for particular features. Case in point, my wife uses her Pebble for medical related reminders and to get messages. She is unable to keep her phone on her person at work, but it is within Bluetooth range. As for myself, it's an invaluable tool for scheduling reminders and triage messages. Combined with a Plantronics Bluetooth headset for phone calls, I can go for hours without actually handling the phone! We've only been Pebble users for less than a year, but it's worked for us. Although I have never used Android wear, I don't see any additional features that I would use that I don't already get on the Pebble. The always on display and +7 day battery life are key features IMHO. I would like to see a touch version and the ability to use the mic with Google Now (haven't tried the Snowy app yet). They really need to expand availability of the watch and accessories here in Canada. It currently only sells at Best Buy and I think the exclusivity is hurting them. The accessory selection is pitiful as well. I will continue to be a Pebble user until they either stop producing them, or Android Wear matches the battery life (5 days at least) and always on display. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You don't see any additional features on Android Wear that you don't already have on Pebble but you happen to list at least three of them in your post? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have to give Kudos to Pebble for how well the product has been supported so far. They have added several features since I purchased mine 4 months ago. Even the wife's older 1st gen Pebble has been updated with the new timeline interface. If they continue product development and expand availability, it will help. Agreed, some of their designs look a bit childish, but the original Steel, Time Round and the Time Steel to a lesser extent are stylish. Whether it's enough to stand out from the crowd of wearables remains too be seen. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I still use a pebble because they are the best at letting me know I have a notification. I own several Wear watches and the vibration motor on them is a joke. I will miss 1/2 of my messages until I happen to look at my watch later on. I never miss one while wearing my pebble time steel. I do wish that it had a more readable indoor screen. Their pricing did hurt them. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Think your wrist may be broke, I've never had an issue with vibe motors on Android Wear. Hell in some cases I've gone looking in the menu to decrease the intensity.
  • Still wear my Pebble Steel daily. For the most part, it just works to deliver notifications which is all I want it to do. I've considered a Time Round or Pebble Time, but the Time just seems bigger without giving me that much more and the battery life on the Round is a deal breaker. Too bad about the 40 jobs, but focusing on the health market? Seems like they are getting out of the smart watch biz, since I don't think the sensors in the existing line are going to keep up with the real needs of the health market. Glad I didn't buy in to the KS as I'd feel betrayed by the rapid price drops too.
  • Everyone here seems to be pretty against Pebble. I love my pebble time and I don't relish a day where I'm charging my watch every day.
  • I think it's similar to the One+ effect. They market heavy on social, and newer methods (kickstarter for example), but the actual experience fell short of the hype. I backed the Kickstarter of the PT, then when they offered the PTS I switched up to that. Communicaiton was very light and rife with delays. This happened in parallel with the competition improving greatly. The watch was announced and backing started 2/24/2015 and the last steel shipped 9/17/2015, and many didn't get the steel bands until December 2015. In that time the moto 360 dropped severely in price, the Apple watch actually launched, and the moto 360 2 came out. Similar arc with the Zenwatch 2, and LG's watches. In the time from their announcement Android wear watches went from either $300+ attractive watches or cheaper geeky looking watches to basically across the board solid looking and much cheaper. During this time Pebble was generally quiet and aside from posting photos of their watches they really couldn't address how their watches were better or even distinct from android wear. I have my PTS, wear it daily and like it. I also want to try Samsung and Android watches since I'm a geek. I wouldnt say i "love" it, but I find a smartwatch in general useful for the masses it's just a matter of who can get their voices heard.