Pebble Final Update Will Keep It Ticking After Cloud Services Shuts Down


Time may be running out for the Pebble brand, but its watches will keep on ticking. Until the near future, at least.

Pebble has released a final update for its smartwatch that will allow it to work without depending on the cloud services. The Pebble app update is for both iOS and Android.

Fitbit bought Pebble in December 2016 for a reported $23 million. After the acquisition, Fitbit promised to keep Pebble services ticking through 2017. But without any recent announcements regarding Pebble's future, the update could be the last one for Pebble.

Pebble To Keep On Ticking

Pebble announced the update via its development blog post. The update, according to Pebble, will prepare the ecosystem its major transition. Pebble wants to make sure owners can enjoy the smartwatch "for as long as possible."

To do this, Pebble updated its iOS and Android apps to remove the smartwatch's dependency on cloud services. Thus, the watch can still function normally even when the online servers are inaccessible (or gets shut down by Fitbit for good).

"For example, if a Pebble authentication server can't be reached, the mobile apps will let Pebble devices keep working. The login process can be skipped, apps can be side-loaded, and the latest watch firmware (including language packs) can be installed," wrote Pebble.

Pebble users on iOS can download the update via iTunes App Store. For Android users, Pebble has set up a beta channel where they can download the update until the full version becomes available on Google Play Store. The complete patch notes can be viewed here.

What's In The Update?

For iOS users, several features have been removed like Contact Support option, Health data collection, and new feature suggestion.

For Pebble owners on Android, the Health data collection and Contact Support options were also removed. For developers, they can side-load a service configuration to change the communication servers for Pebble.

Speaking of developers, Pebble hasn't forgotten its community so it gave three options to integrate their efforts into the updated app. One is Offline Mode, which would prevent the mobile app from communicating with the Cloud services. The next one is Default Mode, which as the name implies, reverts the Pebble to default online mode. Lastly, there is a Custom Boot Config, which will direct the Pebble app to load its configuration from the developer-specified custom URL. The app will periodically check the said URL for updates.

Pebble also added a weather property that will identify which server to ask for weather data. If no server is specified within this property, the Weather app will disappear from the Launcher menu on-watch.

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