One of the game-changers in the tech industry, particularly in smartwatches, is Pebble. In 2013, it released a modern smartwatch that can be connected with Android and iOS devices which shows notifications from your phone and performs tasks through apps. During that time, it was the first one to have these kinds of features.
Pebble garnered attention from a lot of people and made it a success. However, Pebble smartwatches are not available in the market nowadays. While the smartwatch industry is on its high, one of the pioneer companies that started it is nowhere to be found. So, what happened?
Pebble Technology Corporation developed the Pebble smartwatch. It was the brainchild of Eric Migicovsky, who was an exchange student from the Netherlands. He was attending the University of Waterloo when he came up with the idea of a smartwatch.
It was first named as InPulse. Migicovsky raised money under the Y Combinator business incubator program, which enabled him to make a business deal with Blackberry. Still, it was not enough to attract more investors.
Migicovsky then turned to Kickstarter, which is a crowdfunding website. It received record-breaking funding of more than 10 million dollars through a campaign in 2012, making it the biggest funding to be received by a startup back then.
The first smartwatch was launched in early 2013 with over 85,000 orders. They were able to reach one million users by the end of 2014. — So, when did it start to fall out?
In 2015, Apple Watch was released and created competition in wearable technology. However, Pebble was not threatened by the presence of the tech giant. They thought of it as an opportunity for people to get curious about the new technology.
At first, they gained more buyers since it is much cheaper than the Apple Watch. Yet, the more advanced technology of Apple slightly shifted the consumers. In addition, the presence of a competitor is not enough reason for a company to shut down or sell its properties.
Apple and Pebble shared the same struggles when it comes to wearable devices. The first smartwatches initially had this idea of a smartphone is on their wrist. But people were not really into it. The only thing that keeps them buying these watches is the fitness trackers.
With this, Apple unveiled the second version of their watch that focuses on fitness, while Pebble developed watches with health features and a new Pebble Core product. Due to the drop in sales, they could not fund themselves and started a new crowdfunding campaign through Kickstarter.
The campaign was able to collect 12 million dollars, but at that time, it was not enough to save the company from all of its losses. In December 2016, Pebble was sold to Fitbit. It was said that aside from being one of the top leaders and a new face in the wearable market, Fitbit was willing to retain the developers and users of Pebble.
Pebble Smartwatch: The Community
Pebble has left a strong community behind them. After it was sold, people still opt to use the Pebble smartwatch rather than other watches. One of the features that they loved about it is the e-paper screen that’s easy to look at even under the sun.
This type of screen also has less battery consumption which enables it to last longer. It can last up to a week with only a single charge. It has features like “Quiet Time,” where an animated mouse appears on the screen, making smartwatches for kids fun.
Another best thing about the Pebble smartwatch is it has push-button controls which is also a practical design. When it comes to its web services, Fitbit had shut down the Pebble web services in June 2019. However, some of the former employees and users of Pebble are trying to keep the watches functioning by maintaining the services under Rebble.
Technology has changed the way people live. Some things are made more accessible and sometimes failed to keep. The same goes for their industry. As another technology arises, old ones are being forgotten. Pebble smartwatch is an example of it. Although not many people knew that it existed, it doesn’t diminish the fact that they are one of the pioneers of smartwatches.