One can say that Fitbit is currently on top of its game after IDC reported that it continues to dominate the wearable devices market in its latest report. In a move to further leverage this position especially against rival Apple Watch, the company has just paid $40 million to acquire Pebble.
The tech world could not quite determine what to make of this recent development. This is best indicated in the conflicting accounts and analyses from the flurry of tech headlines published immediately after the Pebble acquisition announcement.
Android Police: Its Pebble Murder Pure And Simple
“You will hear many things about today’s Pebble acquisition by Fitbit – that it was about software, firmware, engineers, intellectual property, or simply that Pebble was unable to continue on as it existed,” wrote David Ruddock. “The one examination you should take to heart, though, is that Fitbit just straight up wrote a check to kill a competitor.”
Some would probably argue against that sweeping declaration, pointing to the fact that Pebble seems fated to go down the drain anyway. Why not merely sit everything out and wait for the wearable manufacturer to fade on its own? Fitbit, therefore, must have found something valuable in all of Pebble’s technology and manpower in its quest to produce the best smartwatch in the market.
Still Ruddock is adamant:
“We’ll probably never hear Fitbit mention the alleged fruits of this acquisition ever again, because it’s clear their goal is to smother all memory of Pebble out of existence.”
Mashable: It’s A Wearable Disease
Mashable’s Brett Williams took a more general standpoint, arguing that the Pebble acquisition is indicative of a more wide-ranging trend that undermines the viability of wearable devices.
“The abandonment rate was 29 percent for smartwatches and 30 percent for fitness trackers,” Williams pointed out. “People gave a few main reasons for ditching their devices: they don’t find them useful, they get bored of them or they just break.”
This position has found support from different outlets.
“The market slowdown particularly hurt Pebble, which did not have the resources to wait for things to pick up. That might not happen until 2019 or 2020, when other functions touted by smartwatch makers, such as controlling smart home devices and paying without a debit or credit card, become more readily available,” according to the San Francisco Gate.
TechCrunch: Don’t Forget The Pebble Story
Outlets like TechCrunch felt it fitting to recognize what Pebble has accomplished and its contribution to the wearable devices industry.
“Pebble has had a long, one might say rocky road. As one of the earliest and biggest crowdfunding successes it showed the potential and perils of hardware startups that were increasingly having to scale from back-of-napkin idea to a global operation overnight. Its acquisition by Fitbit now official and word coming down that the company is done making products make for a bittersweet end to an unusually successful hardware startup story.”
Whatever the case is, there is still the fact that Pebble has folded up and rivals should probably note where it failed to avoid the same fate. Now, the bulk of the reports so far have failed to provide comprehensive information on the part of users and what will happen to their Pebble watches such as the popular Pebble Steel and the Pebble Time 2.