Time's up: Fitbit reportedly buying Pebble

Modern smartwatch pioneer to be phased out

Pebble had a  good run, but the modern day smartwatch pioneer may have seen its last Kickstarter campaign.

Fitbit, maker of popular fitness trackers like the Fitbit Charge 2 and Fitbit Flex 2, is reportedly buying up the troubled Silicon Valley smartwatch startup, according to Engadget.

Pebble has managed to launch seven watches since 2012, including this year's Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2, but it has struggled financially in recent months. 

It laid off nearly a quarter of its employees in March, and has increasingly faced competition – like and Apple and Google – with much deeper pockets. 

This has made it an uphill battle to profit when it's competing with the Apple Watch 2 and Android Wear watches, even when Pebble has sold more watches than all those running Google's software.

What's in it for Fitbit? What happens to Pebble?

Fitbit is said to be buying Pebble not for its smartwatch brand, but for its fairly refined watch operating system, Pebble OS. 

Fitbit Blaze needed to be a better smartwatch

Smartwatch software is something that Fitbit needs, as it has expanded beyond fitness trackers with the Apple Watch-lookalike Fitbit Blaze. We found it to be a solid fitness tracker, but not much of a smartwatch.

That said, we're unlikely to ever see another Pebble smartwatch, and support of current watches like the Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 will eventually be phased out, according to today's report.

The price for Pebble

There no firm price nailing down how much Fitbit allegedly paid for Pebble, but it's said to be between $34 million to $40 million (£27m to 32m, AU$46m to AU$54m), according to Engadget.

'member wearing this? I 'member

It's a figure that's about half of what Intel was reportedly willing to pay for Pebble following the lackluster Pebble Time Round launch, and 1/20th of what Citizen was reportedly ready to pay in 2015.

Pebble will always have its place in smartwatch history, as the Kickstarter darling that raised $10 million (about £8m, AU$14m) before anyone else, back in 2012 when it launched the Pebble Classic.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Swider is TechRadar's gadget-savvy, globe-trotting mobile editor in Los Angeles. As an expert in iOS and Android, he owns over 120 phones that someone keeps setting the alarms on – simultaneously. He received his journalism degree from Penn State University and is never seen without his TechRadar headphones.