News of Fitbit's acquisition of Pebble has left affected wearable owners uncertain about support for their Pebble devices. Fitbit has now addressed the issue, stating that it will be going out of its way just to support Pebble software and services but only through 2017.
Fitbit's Pebble Support
The announcement was made by Jon Barlow, who had been a Pebble watch face developer and community moderator. He is now employed as part of the team that ensures smooth Pebble transition.
Barlow did not elaborate on where exactly the Pebble transition is heading. He stressed, however, that Fitbit will not be in the business of bricking Pebble watches in active service.
"The Pebble SDK, CloudPebble, Timeline APIs, firmware availability, mobile apps, developer portal, and Pebble appstore are all elements of the Pebble ecosystem that will remain in service at this time," Barlow said. "Pebble developers are welcome to keep creating and updating apps. Pebble users are free to keep enjoying their watches."
Future Pebble Software Updates
One of the key takeaways Fitbit's announcement involves the direction of the software updates. It was already stated that updates will not lead to the bricking of Pebble devices.
Future updates seem to be steering Pebble devices away from its dependence on cloud services. The idea is to ensure that Pebble devices will still continue to work without cloud support and features.
It is not yet clear whether Fitbit will be shutting down Pebble's own cloud tech anytime soon. But this could be possible because Fitbit has already expressed its intention to retain only those technologies that could be useful to its own wearable products and in leveraging its position in the market.
Some observers believe that the key asset that could have some semblance of utility for Fitbit involves its software. All other assets could therefore be in danger of getting the axe.
A recent statement issued by James Park, Fitbit's CEO, reinforced this.
"With this acquisition, we're well positioned to accelerate the expansion of our platform ... as well as build the tools healthcare providers, insurers and employers need to more meaningfully integrate wearable technology into preventative and chronic care," Park said in an official statement.
Fitbit is also said to be evaluating whether Pebble's smart features will still be supported. These are largely dependent on third-party services and could further complicate software development, entailing more resources.
As was previously stated, third-party developers are welcome to develop and support Pebble services so that Pebble devices could still live on even after Fitbit's timeline have been used up.