Pebble Smartwatch Owners Get a Small Piece of Good News
Approximately 2 million Pebble smartwatch owners received a small modicum of good news on Thursday as developers for the defunct wearable pioneer tweaked its software to better survive the future shutdown of its servers.
Updated software for the Pebble apps for Apple iOS and Google Android will allow the watches to continue to function even if they cannot connect to Pebble’s cloud servers. The updates also allows a way to add new apps to the watches without the servers or Pebble’s app store.
“We’re working hard to make sure Pebble users can keep enjoying their smartwatch experience for as long as possible,” Jon Barlow, a former developer at Pebble, who now works for Fitbit wrote in a blog post this week. “We’re happy to share the progress made so far with Pebblers today as a part of our continuing efforts to honor Pebble’s legacy, ecosystem, and functionality.”
Pebble set a record for raising the most money on Kickstarter back when it introduced its first smartwatch in 2012. But the once-cutting edge watch was passed by products from Apple, Samsung, Garmin (GRMN), and others. Last December, leading wearable band maker Fitbit bought some of the company’s assets for $23 million, and Pebble announced it would be dissolved.
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Although Pebble stopped selling watches at that time, the company said Fitbit had committed to keep Pebble software and services running through 2017.
Fitbit (FIT) has yet to provide details for how it will incorporate technology and software acquired from Pebble and several other failing startups last year into its own products. CEO James Park has said the acquisitions will help Fitbit launch its own smartwatch to take on competitors like Apple (AAPL) and makers of Google (GOOGL) Android Wear devices.
“All those things are going to really help us enter the category,” Park told Fortune in February. “We don’t typically disclose product news, but I’m sure we’ll have more to share in the second half of this year.”