I'm glad they are refunding me, but that makes me think... WTF, did they not produce any Time 2's? Or are they all going to the landfill? How long have they been knowing that they are going to be insolvent? This doesn't happen overnight! Was the last Kickstarter a gamble?
Why does everybody have to aim for total market dominance to be successful? They overreached and now the customers suffer. There should be a place for "small" manufacturer selling a niche product ("small" with a certain understatement like German "Mittelstand" enterprizes - I mean Pebble sold millions of units). If they had to increase the price by 10% to be sustainable, they still would have smashed the Kickstarter.
Sometimes I think there is a secret cabal conspiring so we can't have nice things ;-). The same one that decided that cell phone batteries have to be non-removable, touchscreens glossy, and wearables either mini-smartphones or bluetooth-step-counters.
_All_ Kickstarters are gambles. Their messaging is pretty clear in the fact that you aren't buying a product, you're contributing money with the hope that the maker will deliver on their promises.
What they should have done is cut costs and develop 10x fewer features, let the community grow slowly but organically and wait out the bad times.
It's easy to say that, but when you are up against the Apple/Samsung type companies who have much deeper pockets, don't have to wait out bad times, have the ability to lean on vendors, have contracts in place with manufacturing and the supply chain to efficiently deliver the product, it might not be realistic to do that. On top that, as others here have said, once you take VC money, there isn't really an option to go slowly and let the community grow.
Sure there is. Just not while also being the dominant, or one of the dominant players in the industry when there is competition form a bit name. Pebble didn't have to be a dominant player, they could have positioned themselves differently if they wanted. Both paths are a gamble, but if it comes to a small company I own trying to compete with Apple/Samsung/Google and it's obvious their resources give them an edge (which they almost always do), then I think I would try to position myself to net necessarily compete with them directly (e.g. be the more hacker friendly device, don't shoot for the luxury market, find some cool thing they aren't offering, etc).
They did not really have to go against Apple/Samsung, their product was unique enough that Apple and Samsung don't have anything that's similar to it, and people like me would prefer pebble over their products. I mean now that pebble is gone, I'll most likely go back to regular watches.
their goals become your goals and their goals are almost always "Make more money now"
They try to do a Hardware project that pushes boundaries and try to collect money to early during the development process at a time when it is really impossible to set a ship date. (Also a factor is company inexperience with manufacturing) This is why so many projects have to delay shipments and sometimes eventually run out of money without getting to a shippable product.
Companies that are successful typically do their preorders at a point where they have already completed multiple production runs at a cm in china and are ready to ramp for mass production. the order count helps justify the costs of ordering mass production parts. The issue of course is that it means investors had to be willing to fund seed/series A without seeing any traction.
It's for people to support funding projects still in development and helping them get from that stage to get into production. In exchange for a "reward". It's not meant to be for products already having done multiple production runs ready to ramp up and customers are just pre-paying a long delivery time.
I would agree it appears there needs to be better communication about the risks and uncertainties. But they have said quite clearly kickstarter is not a store:
Most money spent on Kickstarter goes to projects which are far far more likely to be completed in some form: videogames, books, board games. I'd say that hardware projects should be banned entirely except for companies that have already shipped similar products but, well, that would've included Pebble.
It's not for everyone, but I'd be happy to back a hardware project knowing there's a solid chance it might not succeed, especially on the more niche products. Someone has to.
But I do think risky product creators can compensate their backers better for the risks and for taking a chance on them. For example I think it would be great to see something like a behind the scenes component with more sharing of the process as they go. Maybe like a weekly vlog about them building this new product from scratch, with successes and failures and what they are learning. The company doesn't have to show anything proprietary. It's like behind the scene DVD but for a product not a movie. I'd watch it. Plus all the backers would know that the creators tried and if they are failing, the reasons why. It could be interesting and entertaining. And if doesn't work they would at least have shared what they learned which others can learn from too. Anywho I don't see this happening.
People were understandably angry. And it wasn't so much the risk (because none of the backers lost their money), it's that the company wasn't upfront about risks. GPG's leadership knew going in that the company would go under if the campaign didn't become a miraculous success, but backers didn't find that out until after the campaign had stalled.
Presumably, backers wouldn't have been informed at all if the campaign had succeeded.
This situation with Pebble is even more strange because apparently their campaign succeeded (in raising money beyond their target goal)....
It arrived as a useless brick that I, and most other recipients, never even got to show the time.
Free Market at its finest
Pebble wasn't aiming for market dominance, they were aiming for market traction. How many Pebbles do you see in the wild? Now, how many Apple Watches do you see? How many Garmins? FitBits? "Notifications" is the baseline these days. It's just a given if I buy a fancy electronic watch. So where does that put Pebble? Having the same notification functionality as other devices, only not as slick and more cheap looking. Oh, Pebble has fitness stuff now? Have fun going up against Garmin and FitBit. As more and more devices gain the functionality that defined Pebble, Pebble went from the leader in this segment to playing catch-up.
Sometimes I think there is a secret cabal conspiring so we can't have nice things ;-).
Of course you know better. :-) Pebble sold you a device, everyone else sells you an ecosystem. All the fitness add-ons in the world won't make a difference if there isn't some form of analysis and data storage behind it. I can go back to stuff my Garmins have recorded over a decade ago. FitBit's got something similar, Nike (back when they made hardware), and others I've missed. Apple and Android watches tie into their respective systems for more functionality than just notifications on your wrist. Nope, no cabal, the market just moved on and Pebble got left behind. We do have nice things, they just don't have "Pebble" silkscreened on them now.
Almost the same number for me. That said I barely see any Apple watches and most people I know who bought them have left them in the bedside drawer long ago
> Pebble sold you a device, everyone else sells you an ecosystem.
Pebble actually had the full ecosystem going, app store, online integration, accessories, the whole hog. So much so that (for me at least) it was actually a /bad/ thing. I don't want my smartwatch to be a portal into web services and a means of datamining my life. I don't want a subscription to a watch service. I just want it to be a watch that I can program and that can talk to my phone.
I interpreted it more as a way to build hype around pre-orders for something that wouldn't come out for a while. In light of them going under, your explanation seems to gain some support, but I still wonder if they were also using Kickstarter as a hype builder and pre-order managment system.
Pretty sure they feel terrible right now and I don't think they slept well for the past 6 months.
Could someone reasonable see this coming before KS? Most likely yes. Would they get this far without taking big risks? Most likely no.
You feel angry you didn't get your pebbles, I feel angry I didn't get my two pebbles and a core.
Imagine how they feel - reportedly turned down $750 mil and less than a year later had to apply for a job at another struggling wearables manufacturer.
In alternative reality:
1. They could hire way less aggressive and stay lean. Product development will be much slower, but they can operate cash flow positive.
2. With Kickstarter/pre-orders they could avoid taking any serious VC funding.
3. They probably need to move less expensive region than SF Bay Area. SF is great for go big or go home, but not an ideal place for long-term sustainable business.
4. Probably the price of watches would be higher and they will be niche, but still there are tons of watch manufactures that survived decades.
Per their site, Pebble's current product line has three different case designs, each available in at least three different finishes, and one with an additional heart rate monitor. That seems like an awful lot of SKUs for a small hardware startup to develop, manufacture, stock, fulfill and support. Their latest kickstarter added even more models.
From my armchair, it looks like they tried to expand and segment their market too quickly, for the sake of both growth and the optics of their product line in comparison to Apple.
I'm in the early stages of creating the world's tiniest "hardware startup" (the product consists of a single piece of metal), and it's a constant discipline to not get caught up in offering variations on the base design. Every product design choice ripples through the supply chain, increasing complexity and overhead at your peril.
Good luck to all the folks at Pebble in their new endeavors.
> Sometimes I think there is a secret cabal conspiring so we can't have nice things ;-). The same one that decided that cell phone batteries have to be non-removable, touchscreens glossy, and wearables either mini-smartphones or bluetooth-step-counters.
I feel that all the time. Of course it's not a secret cabal, just the free market promoting get-rich-quick schemes and making it harder for sustainable businesses and actually useful products to survive.
Low goal is just good for PR and means you actually get some money rather than none if you fall short of your secret real goal
The probably made some, but it takes money to turn any component inventory they may have into shippable products. They probably burned all of the money on mechanical tooling and part procurement already, and maybe hit a major issue in doing so (critical component is suddenly a very different price, etc). All of that inventory either is returned (if possible) or ends up liquidated on the secondary electronics component market for pennies on the dollar, to pay back the creditors. Custom parts, tools, etc have less of a resale market, but I'm sure a company in China will be happy to pick them up cheap to make smartwatches for the local market.
There were some stories circulating that their provider of screens for Time 2 is in financial troubles, so presumably may have not been able to fulfill the order.
Hardware isn't really profitable or even sustainable until you are shipping millions of units. That's why you don't see many hardware startups succeeding without either massive amounts of VC funding, or a really cheap-to-make product that you can sell for much more than it's worth (e.g. Fitbit). That's why any investor will tell you that the subscription model is basically the only way to go if you're making hardware.
So did we.
Edit: removed judgemental statement.
Of course that's kind of a mis-use of the kickstarter site... you've been in the euro/war/rpg board gaming business for over 25 years and you've had 8 completely successful kickstarters and now you're starting your 9th... I'm not naming names, but come on, you're not "kickstarting" anything, this is just your online store.
If they have 20 millions in debt, just increasing the price on their kickstarters slightly wouldn't have done it, so they obviously overdid something.
Because they want money, and it's very hard to be sustainably profitable when it comes to hardware without major scale.
If you can do different/better, then go do it. Be the change you want to see.
There is, it's called "Chinese OEM manufacturers".
(Yes, I know that an 'OEM manufacturer' is like an 'ATM machine'.)
OEM means "Original Equipment Manufacturer".
"OEM manufacturer" would mean "original equipment manufacturer manufacturer".
ATM Machine would mean Automatic Teller Machine Machine.
In a year or two, when my current Pebble Time fails, I'd love an equivalent smartwatch to be available. Since the market doesn't seem to want it, how can we make it happen anyway?
Features I'm looking for are, in order of priority:
- always-on screen, preferably color (like Pebble Time), but monochromatic will do
- open SDK for writing software for the watch
- battery life at least the one like Pebble's - 5-7 days
- *zero* dependency on cloud for it to work
- basic, standard suite of sensors onboard - compass/magnetometer/accelerometer, maybe a mike
- elegant form factor
A Pebble is a nice gadget. The Garmin (looking at garmin.com, clicking the first thing that looks like a watch) is close to a month of rent.
I believe you when you state that you're satisfied. On the other hand, I really don't feel that this is in the Pebble replacement league.
Been badly burned by Garmin in the past, but maybe I'll take a look. They seem to be competing with Suunto, but without that ridiculous iOS only thing.
I'm not sure I like the looks of the thing (but then again, pictures are bad and I should get my hands on one first) and I've no idea about their app platform yet.
Do you happen to know if this works completely offline, ignoring cloud offerings? Can I track whatever I want to track and keep it on the device and/or my phone only?
Exactly, people keep bringing up Garmin as a replacement but I don't think it is. I was into Pebble for the open C API and price, which did everything I wanted. The Pebble 2 was at the limit of what I would ever pay for a smartwatch, Garmin I just won't consider as I only want a few features.
I'm sad that it is almost certain that the Pebble/fitbit blend that we will see in the future will be completely closed/proprietary which definitely doesn't help me "make awesome happen".
I've always had nice wristwatches (and prefer to look at my wrist for the time instead of my phone) but I've been thinking about buying one recently. Most of them seem centered around health / fitness tracking, though, and that's not something I need or want. Mostly, I just want a "regular watch" (date/time) and perhaps notifications of incoming calls/messages (not necessarily even the content of messages -- just, for example, "SMS from Alice" or "Call from Bob", enough to let me decide whether to go pick up my phone). Garmin's API/SDK looks pretty cool, though.
I looked at some devices a week or two when purchasing a new FitBit for the girlfriend but, like I said, they had loads of features I didn't want. I'm tempted to just continue to wait on purchasing a "smart watch" and get a new wristwatch instead. I'm not really thrilled at the idea of having to charge my watch all the time anyways.
I don't use the sleep tracking at all, hate having a watch on at night, but the step tracker is fairly accurate and useful.
It's one of those things where I initially bought it for the notifications and the (supposed) battery life. And every now and again I'll find some random new cool use.
People are already working on open-source firmware for some of these watches, so I think there's a reasonably good chance that either some of these companies will create a decent alternative to pebble, or at least good enough hardware which can be used with community-developed firmware (and even more importantly: apps on the phone side).
Similar to how OrangePI leverage Raspberry Pi situations.
It becomes race to the bottom ($5-10 pi zero) and no one can make $ in the market in both short and long term.
There seem to be a lot of sub $20 watch base on following links - not sure how good/bad are they.
However I think that brands focused on quality will emerge. Xiaomi for example don't make the cheapest gadgets but instead focus on quality. If they decide that there is a market for pebble-like smartwatch, I'm certain they would execute well.
How does it hold up "out there" in the real world? Is it too focused on the suit/office crowd?
My only complaint is they try and be clever and detect when you move your wrist up to look at it, so it auto-shows you notifications. This sucks because it's not totally reliable (so half the time I press the button to bring up notifications and it ends up dismissing them because they are already in view, and other times it triggers due to an incorrect motion). I wish you could turn that off but I haven't found a way yet.
I've had this watch for about 3 months now. The first charge only lasted about 2 weeks but after that I actually got more than 30 days on the 2nd charge and going strong on my 3rd charge now, so the battery life claims definitely are true (though I did uninstall the weather app cause it was useless).
The build quality is good. People say it's a little thick but I guess my arms are big enough that I don't notice. I got the leather band and it's never felt uncomfortable to me.
I would recommend a screen protector (Amazon has some good fitting ones for cheap) but that's probably because it's been a decade since I wore a walk and got a tiny scratch because the first day I wore it I accidentally flailed my arm towards a brick column at work. It scratched the face a tiny bit (not really noticable) but I feel much safer with a screen protector.
Any other specific things you'd like to know I'm happy to answer.
The Pebble watchface Time Orbit by Spectre Collie has the very same problem. I love the watchface looks, but if you tilt it, it decides to show other info such as date. It is a usability problem.
There's a rather large difference between the Vector and Pebble though. I checked various Vector watches and saw most at 500 USD, with one at 400 USD. So the cheapest Vector appears to be about 4 times more expensive than a Pebble 2 Classic. I don't know, that just doesn't seem like a fair comparison.
The watches seem to start around 350 euros
I'll take a look on amazon :)
If you do actually purchase one, the screen protectors I got were: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01L03TF7Y/ref=oh_aui_sear...
Interesting to know about the display of the notifications. I was wondering how cleverly they did that, and if it was a check box. Sounds like it needs to be a checkbox or something.
Even as careful as I try to be with it I know I still hit it against things and it hasn't scratched up at all. Wheither that's due to the screen protector (not tempered glass, just a standard plastic protector you'd lay on a phone) or not I don't know, but it's held up pretty well. That includes biking and running outside.
I literally only take it off if I go for a swim or at night when I sleep (I don't like having something on my wrist while sleeping)
That being said, as long as time and notification works I'm good.
And by crowdfunding I meant crowdfunding of manufacturing; the hardware would be open source, ensuring you could (with enough skills or good enough friends) make your own instead of buying one, and the software ecosystem would be compatible with it.
A good example of this is the raspberry pi's with all the NES/SNES/etc games. Withing needing to make sure cartridges and old NES's still work, we use a new piece of hardware to give a very similar experience.
Smart watches and other small worn devices will be changing a lot. I'd rather have hw builds posted to something like massdrop as they are iterated, once the software is mostly saved.
One of the bigger obstacles for me personally has been bluetooth notifications. I have found surprisingly few examples online of people getting it to actually work, and if you read through their work more closely, it only very barely works. I've tried to reproduce what other people have done and had it actually work even less than that.
I was thinking of selling a pre-programmed bluetooth module with apple and android notifications etc. if I ever got it working, figuring there must be other people in the same situation with this pain point. So far the idea that I could do a better job than others that have tried has turned out to be hubristic, though.
Obviously we all need something different, but that's what I'm waiting for.
I'd be pretty interested in making something like this happen and figuring it out and leading the charge so-to-speak. It'd be an awesome experience, at the very least. However, I have no experience on the hardware side of things. I'm down to learn, but the software side is what I do have some experience with.
Pebble's products were an excellent example of lateral technology. No need for high DPI on your watch, because they made something that looks good with few pixels. Making battery life a priority in a world of WiFi-enabled pressure cookers.
Even when the battery ran out you still got 24 hours of a watch that would at least tell the time!
I have no idea if it is possible to produce something like Pebbles at low quantities, but I would love to see an open design with similar specs. I think these watches are better than anything else out there, and it's sad the design is going to disappear.
I literally wear my Time Steel for 23 hours and 45 minutes per day. The only time it's charging and not on my wrist is when I'm in the shower, and over the course of a regular day it never drops below 80%. If I'm going away for a weekend I don't even have to bother with the charger.
I was aiming to get a new Pebble after Christmas, as mine suffers from that screen corruption glitch that plagued the first gens.
I expect this is actually part of the problem, and likely affects many smartwatch producing companies: If it wasn't for the screen glitch, I wouldn't be replacing my watch. It works, does everything I need, and speed isn't an issue. A colour display would be nice, but it's far from important to me. I'm sure the same is true for many Joe Average consumers. There isn't the same impetus to frequently upgrade a watch.
But you're right. Much like the cell phone market which appears to be slowing down, the minor improvements made in the tech for smart watches don't appear to actually be worth buying if you already have the current version that isn't broken. Unfortunately, the software Pebbles run is so straightforward that even planned obsolescence through required updates wouldn't have been a viable option like it is for cell phones. Y'know, the updates that correct dangerous security vulnerabilities while at the same time crippling old hardware by introducing new, unnecessary features in the software? No Pebble owner would've bought (for lack of a better word) that justification and upgraded.
The pebble 2 does compete with the fit-bit. This story reminds me of a time when I worked at a small semiconductor equipment manufacture. We were a scrappy team and build a great small footprint tool. We won an order from a larger customer. Everyone was celebrating until our competitor quickly bought us out for cheap and shut us down. A few engineer went over to the new company but not enough to keep the product going.
I'm not sure about that. I read some comments on a few other articles about the Pebble shutdown, and people are recommending the Vector Watch . It's a smart watch with a monochromatic e-ink display, and it has a 30 day battery life.
I will use my pebble as long as it continues to work, then it'll get retired to my shelf of tech fails. Most of which failed FAR more spectacularly.
Shelf is a euphemism, it's actually a small pile of boxes that I keep just to remind myself that even great ideas will die with poor implementation, planning, DRM, or bad support.
No thanks, my stack is big enough, but I betcha someone collects those!
They actually delivered on orders, although I don't know how many. I got an early review model for free. I've kept on to it because it is x86 with an NVIDIA ION board. I thought it'd be fun to put XBMC / Kodi on it, and maybe some retro game emulators. Never got around to it though and it's still running stock firmware and sitting in its original box.
A piece of history to be sure, although I doubt anyone who wasn't there at the time would remember it. The highly anticipated device that invented the tablet market was not the iPad...
Well - there's always this:
> ...with similar specs
Hmm - I doubt they compare, but then again, one is open-source and nearly infinitely customizable (depending on your budget, skills, and needs) - and one, well - doesn't exist any longer.
I know we see plenty of "our incredible journey" posts filled with optimism, but euphemistic language and dozens of photos of watches and happy people and more watches is jarring.
It's not a shame to try hard at something and fail. But it is a shame to fail and pretend you succeeded. We can see through you.
Had they came to the community and said, "hey we are losing sales and we need everyone to pitch in $10 / year for software support (maybe a web interface for fitness or something) I guarantee a few hundred thousand people would have done it.
Had they shared a coupon with the community (i.e. email add campaign, or add on watch - "buy one, get one half off" for christmas they would have probably had a large bump in orders. Although I recognize this would be a mild annoyance, I can also guarantee they would have sold plenty of units.
This simply seems like poor management and it's frustrating because it's the best smart watch I can find at the moment. It does exactly what I want, is cheaper than the competition, and is dead simple to use.
WTF pebble, you had the product people loved - you just didn't market it well.
What is this based on? I'd be shocked if that worked. I think it'd be a sign of blood in the water, and signal the end (if vendors see this, they're going to want to be paid up front, employees are going to start looking for the exits).
> Had they shared a coupon with the community (i.e. email add campaign, or add on watch - "buy one, get one half off" for christmas they would have probably had a large bump in orders. Although I recognize this would be a mild annoyance, I can also guarantee they would have sold plenty of units.
Pure volume wasn't what sank the ship, I'm sure. It probably would have put them out of business faster.
> "This simply seems like poor management"
That's an easy thing to say, but it's probably more complex than that. They were in a tough spot, with competition from much, much deeper pockets.
I mostly just use it with cycling (MapMyRide supports it) and for the music app. I realize their servers/app store will shut down eventually (I hope they at least decide to take whatever money they have left and keep the servers running as long as possible after paying off people/debts) and at that point it will be difficult, if not impossible, to get it working with new phones.
I'm going to do what I can to keep mine working until then though. I prefer the simplicity of a Pebble to any of the Google/Apple offerings.
It seems very strange they are basically just shutting down. That has to be an ego driven decision on the FitBit side - they wanted to kill Pebble. Are they even going to use the brand name? The combination of: working production facility, users in the wild, and (the biggest asset) a developer community had to have some value. Now that the deal is done there is no chance to pry that out of publicly traded FitBit, but it seems like this could have had a better outcome.
Actually, I think what happened is that Eric, the CEO, is now a multi-millionaire.
So, this is more of a success story than most of us might consider savory to think about.
In general this sort of thing is probably far more common than you'd think (top brass gets paid, everyone else gets a "thank you"). If I'm not mistaken, that's what happened at Sam Altman's company, and a good number of the YC company exits.
EDIT: I was wrong, he is joining YC. Thank you for pointing that out kobeya.
I actually can't think too much about that era without being angry about how all of that sector played out. Frivolous lawsuits, bad management, amazing hardware, flashes of brilliant software.
And hope. So much hope.
OK over and out you guys, Done with your echo chamber. So long and thanks for all the fish.
I haven't noticed this effect. Your post is currently positive, in fact. If I were to downvote you, it would have been for _complaining about downvotes_, as I think (though might be mistaken) that such commentary is not considered on topic.
> Your next step: boycott Fitbit and make it known you are doing this because of the shutdown of pebble.
This is the interesting idea. I don't think it would be effective, as I suspect that if FitBit came out with a smart watch similar to Pebble (a year from now), most of the Pebble fans would hop ship and buy one. (I might be mistaken in such a belief.)
It's possible that people downvoted you to reflect an opinion of "that wouldn't work". It doesn't seem like a personal grudge, either, as your comment history doesn't seem (well, at my inexperienced first glance) to be downvoted very much.
A hardware company on the hook for fulfilling 50k orders of the sequel has some pretty serious expenses. A sale might have been the best landing and what got everyone a refund for the 2nd.
Still, they might need an incredibly high number of people to pay. And then people would bitch and say that they're running a ponzi scheme like a bitcoin wallet that lost all of its deposits. My guess is they've engineered a soft landing for orders they can't fulfill and employees and it's the best option in a bad situation. I'd commend them for doing that rather than taking the easy route.
There's some initial reports that they need service back-end to be live in order to do the initial pairing. My Time Round is a dead watch walking if that's the case.
There's not a comparable smartwatch right now that is like the Time Round, I'd happily have paid for ongoing support.
So much of the time "the cloud" is an anti-feature.
Whereas on the $43m they still had to manufacture, ship, hire designers, engineers, etc.
That $4m profit would be a LOT more than 10%, that would cover 20 people's salary
I sincerely doubt they were only 10% of revenue away from being solvent, even if it was money that came out of nowhere. Reports I've heard are that Fitbit paid ~40m to pay off Pebble's debts, meaning that instead of $10/yr the subscription fee would have to have been closer to $10/mo.
I've not looked into it yet, but it is described as:
"A free and cloudless replacement for your gadget vendors' closed source Android applications. Pebble and Mi Band supported."
The feature list seems substantial. So hopefully we'll be able to continue to use our pebbles for some time.
Audium/Pidgin/libpurple all were originally created to have open source interfaces to close systems (MSN, AIM, Yahoo Messenger, etc). Most of the OSS work is about reverse engineering and creating open yet compatible tools to use with or in place of closed systems.
If anything, projects like this can help keep Pebble watches alive after the demise of the company.
None of the closed systems you mentioned exist in any meaningful form today and it's hard to imagine that a substantial number of Pidgin/Adium users began to sing the praises of XMPP rather than adopt another closed messaging system.
If we rely on their cloud services for activity tracking and app downloads then it will be useless if FitBit doesn't maintain the platform.
I have to say I'm really disappointed and this is a huge blow to people that invest in startups offering hardware. If the company fails forget about the smart stuff you bought, it just won't work anymore.
We should look for ways to minimize the impact on backers. Sadly we'll see more of this in a future in which the products depend a lot on the company cloud services to operate.
Buyers need to start demanding Open Source Software and Open Hardware...
With out that, you will always be screwed
As for the step tracking... yeah, not sure.
I'm fairly sure that I could crack the pebble apk myself to remove the authentication stuff at the beginning if it's needed. Backing up all the apps and stuff before it's gone might be the bigger worry here.
I don't think PBW format has any magic in it that could enforce cloud dependency.
I'll have to check out what's going on with the pebble community over there. Might be interesting to get as much reverse engineered as possible before everything goes belly up.
There's also the FOSS smart watch OS Asteroid OS: http://asteroidos.org/
Appreciate the tip!
At least with HP Touchpad you could flash the ROM and change the OS.
It is a difficult sell to have someone pay full price for a product when the manufacturer openly states they won't support it anymore, and may even reduce functionality in the future.
You can keep yours till the end of the return period and see if the price drops. Or maybe pebble will change their own, or open source their software (but now you paid full price for a product with no hardware support). Depending on where you bought, some stores have extended returns for the holidays.
If that's the case I would prefer to purchase devices that are actually already running free software or there is free software available to flash on them.
I enabled sync to google fit because I hoped it would backup sleep data but that does nothing sensible, it's all stored locally (and in fact if you reinstall the Pebble app you lose all your data).
ps: if anyone knows of some software to export these data from an android phone, I'd love to know because I could not find anything
source: I do infrastructure stuff at fitbit. Also they explicitly said this in the developer.pebble.com blog post.
I mean, I won't really blame Fitbit for whatever happens now. It was Pebble's fuckup, and my anger (which I sadly expressed in the threads last week) is wearing off.
I do hope you guys do something great with all those new people and IP. In the meantime, I guess me and other Pebblers will be extra-careful about our watches. They are really something unique and there's hardly anything like it on the market now.
I guess I can only dream, but I hope they some day open up parts of it so that the phone app can continue working even with changes to Android/IOS down the line (if Fitbit doesn't want to keep the old Pebbles alive).
But with that said, a smart watch makes me feel hyper-connected. Putting it in quiet mode (and/or taking it off my wrist) every now and then is liberating and definitely makes me more productive.
I feel that you probably did not configure notifications. Each time I received a notification that is not important I went to Pebble, and disabled it, after a while pebble was no longer as annoying.
EDIT: there's also this post on the tech specs on reddit. This looks pretty re-implementable if you're a hardware engineer looking to do something fun. The right component mix seems to have been figured out already.
() due to legal shenanigans we must not call this an acquisition or an acqui-hire. Also, FitBit didn't do those things, a shell company created by this deal did, which is totally different somehow.
When things like this happen, I always hope that consumers that got screwed over by the deal (and people that hear about it) avoid the acquiring company after the fact. If they treat pebble customers like this, how will they treat their own customers later?
"Fitbit began sending job offers to about 40 percent of Pebble’s employees in the last week. Most of these are software engineers."
Well, the CEO of Pebble Technology, Corp is joining YC.
Also, the services aren't shutting down right away.
If everyone gets their money back, the major downside is the lack of warranty and the lack of fixes to the product. Especially any security & reliability fixes.
As a Pebble 2 owner who is happy with the product as-is I am not sure if I should be happy I did receive my Pebble 2.
This is the trouble with everything hosted in "the cloud" or where you have apps that need to be downloaded. If the company and distribution platform goes away, your device can become useless (or require way more effort to get working).
It's like trying to play an old MMORPG you paid for years ago, but is gone today.
Once the operations have failed the various creditors likely benefit from reasonably priced sales the assets.
That's very unfortunate. How much of Pebble relies on some online service? Is it still possible to install apps/updates without their infrastructure?
For companies that don't open source their stuff by default, it would be so nice if there was some kind of escrow service where upon dissolution of the company (sale, bankruptcy, etc) the required software to keep their hardware going would be released. I suspect the problem is while it's a win for consumers, not enough would care: the mass market is not going to only buy products that have this escrow service, and at the same time, it's handcuffs for the business, likely complicating a sale or liquidation of the company, and possibly turning investors off.
I hope the Pebble doesn't become a complete wristbrick, but it's always a shame to see perfectly good hardware crippled because there's no longer a piece of software running entirely outside the consumer's control.
"Further down the road, we’ll be working to phase out cloud services, providing the ability for the community to take over, where possible."
That way at least their customers could try to hack together stuff or make mirrors of their app repos to keep their devices functional.
Hopefully the community can run with this and set something up so people can distribute and install apps outside of the official services.
And yet everybody having fun with their pebbles on the pictures. Also featured: the energetic team, the diverse ecosystem with lots of developers. This is absurd. The only thing missing is the "our incredible journey"-phrase.
The whole blog-post if marketing BS, even the headline is a lie. "Pebble's next step", there is no next step, it's over for pebble! Some might work for fitbit in the future, but pebble is dead. They don't explain why and how, they are just glorifying their past and don't admit any mistakes.
They've bought the parts that are worth something. They haven't bought the liabilities. It seems like a pretty obvious move, in that cold light.
I always thought of pebbles fighting fitbits, the watch for 'us' vs the trackers for everyone. The open platform vs the locked in, the device that got just what you wanted done vs the not-really-a-watch.
It seemed like with pebble health and their relationship with Stanford things were on the up and up. Now ending warranties and such a trying to be nice but not really announcement. I expect nothing from fitbit. This sucks.
But I also read that the employee-shares would be worthless, so it looks like FitBit bought Pebble in a weird sense.
One could argue having to go continuously go back to that well meant they never gained the market traction they were hoping for.
This was like six months ago, but it was in SF.
It was the cute the first two times. By round #3, I was tired of the "we'll ship soon, after a slew of delays!" dance, and ready for Pebble to put on their big boy pants and let me know when they ship to a retailer from whom I can buy one that day.
And apparently those big boy pants were still fitting a bit loose.
FitBit did not acquire their $24 million in debt or any physical asserts. They offered jobs to 40% of the staff.
ouch, i can only imagine how the founders feel
But in hindsight he's probably kicking himself.
The product they named their company after is never going to be manufactured again. People who paid them for that product but haven't received it yet never will. Their company is dead.
Or do you mean the fact that their founders and owners probably got some cash back for selling the whole thing? Well, how much do you get back for an acquihire? Fitbit didn't buy them for their tech, or they'd still be selling it.
I'd say that was a failure for Pebble investors as they raised $58.81M according to crunchbase.