Pebble update ensures your watch will work when services die

Pebble update ensures your watch will work when services die


Pebble might be dead, but your watch isn't.
Pebble might be dead, but your watch isn't.
Photo: Pebble

The original smartwatch maker is closing down after being acquired by Fitbit, but your Pebble watch will continue to work after all of its services are dead.

With its final update, Pebble has eliminated any reliance on online servers, ensuring your wearable will continue to function as normal when connected to your smartphone.

Pebble made history when its first smartwatch became the most successful Kickstarter campaign ever in 2012, raising $10.3 million. Since then, we’ve seen a whole host of Pebble watches with improved designs, color screens, and new capabilities.

But thanks to tough competition from the likes of Apple and Google, interest in Pebble watches started falling drastically. In 2015, company founder Eric Migicovsky turned down an offer of $740 million from Citizen. Last December, Pebble was sold to Fitbit for just $70 million.

Fitbit made its plans for Pebble clear: It will use the company’s intellectual property to develop new devices under its own name, but there will be no more Pebble watches. It will support existing devices through 2017, then all Pebble services will be shutdown.

In preparation for that, Pebble has rolled out an update that ensures your watch won’t become completely worthless when the Pebble servers go offline.

“We’ve updated our iOS app to preserve the Pebble smartwatch experience and remove the dependence on cloud services,” the company explains in its App Store release notes. “The app lets Pebble devices keep working, even if online servers are not accessible for any reason.”

From now on, you don’t need to login to your Pebble account when setting up your watch. You’ll be able to side-load apps and install the latest firmware updates (though these will only be language packs), and health data will be written to the Health app.

Pebble’s own health data and telemetry reporting services have been removed, as has the option to suggest new features and contact support.

It’s been a good run for Pebble, which revolutionized smartwatches and kickstarted (quite literally) an entirely new generation of smart wearables. It will be missed, but there’s no need to give up on your Pebble anytime soon.


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