Fitbit is about to buy Pebble, a smartwatch maker that broke Kickstarter records in 2012 for its e-ink watch, The Information reports. However, interest in Pebble stops at intellectual properties like the company’s in-house smartwatch operating system. The Pebble brand itself will be phased out, the report said.
While the e-ink smartwatch enjoyed moderate success after its record-breaking Kickstarter campaign initially, Pebble has struggled in recent months, after demand for its latest smartwatch turned out to be mild. Even so, Pebble has yet to ship its latest pre-ordered models.
After laying off about a quarter of its staff in March this year, the company redesigned its ‘Pebble Health’ features – presumably of interest to Fitbit.
Fitbit is one of the largest players in the fitness wearables market, but faces competition from the likes of Apple. Its own smartwatches have been under threat from Apple Watch, while the smartwatch market as shrinking as a whole.
The exact figures of the deal was not disclosed in the report, it was said to be “a small amount”.
Engadget quotes an anonymous source in estimating the amount at US$34-40 million – a bitter-sweet deal for the troubled company, as the source also indicated that “Pebble has had better offers in the past. Citizen reportedly offered to buy up Pebble for $740 million in 2015, but the company refused.”