Fitbit may brick your Pebble smartwatches in the not so distant future

It’s only been a week since the heartbreaking news – Fitbit has agreed to purchase Pebble, but the fitness tracking giant will shutter Pebble’s brand and smartwatches. It’s a depressing thought, but more importantly, it’s left a lot of Pebble owners wondering what will happen to their smartwatches, myself included.

A newly minted Fitbit, former Pebble employee, wrote a blog post reassuring Pebble owners no one is going to “brick Pebble watches in active service,” at least through 2017. It’s unclear how long they’ll preserve the Pebble software, in its current form. Nor is it clear how Pebble/Fitbit will try to offload Pebble’s cloud features to the phone or watch itself.

Pebble Health – which doesn’t need a cloud connection or authentication – will keep running. Fitbit won’t use any of Pebble’s fitness or health tracking, as they already have their alternative. Pebble’s time keeping features and basic app functionality will continue to work, and could keep working until something breaks or needs an update from the cloud. More smartwatch-esque features like notifications, messaging, and weather all rely on third-party cloud services. Pebble nor Fitbit have an answer on how they’ll handle the change, but they’re evaluating the shift as we speak.

Pebble encourages developers to keep updating their apps, creative watch faces, and continuing to support the Pebble ecosystem. Commenters are clearly unsettled with everything going on, with many of them talking about “open sourcing” the platform.

One commenter wrote “I can’t really sustain any enthusiasm at this point. I liked the Pebble software and hardware, and was very much looking forward to the Core which is apparently never going to happen. I’ll keep wearing my Pebbles but I can’t see myself continuing to code for a platform whose end is visible.” He’s not the only developer who feels this way – many already have started writing how they don’t know if they’ll continue support for the watches in the long term.

What do you think about how Fitbit is handling the purchase of Pebble? – Tell us in the comments below!


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