After Fitbit announced its acquisition of Pebble last week, the death of the Kickstarter darling’s devices appeared to be imminent.
But in a post-purchase note to developers on its blog, Pebble reassured its community that the end of support for its wearables hasn’t come — at least not for another year.
The post’s author Jon Barlow, who was an active member of Pebble’s DIY community and is now a “Developer Advocate” at Fitbit, strikes a positive tone for the immediate future of the wearables.
Fitbit is going out of its way to keep Pebble software and services running through 2017. To be clear, no one on this freshly-formed team seeks to brick Pebble watches in active service. The Pebble SDK, CloudPebble, Timeline APIs, firmware availability, mobile apps, developer portal, and Pebble appstore are all elements of the Pebble ecosystem that will remain in service at this time. Pebble developers are welcome to keep creating and updating apps. Pebble users are free to keep enjoying their watches.
To put it simply: Pebble isn’t quite dead yet.
According to Barlow, Pebble’s mobile apps will be updated to lessen their dependence on cloud services in order to function. Once those services are discontinued, he claims, Pebble’s wearables still in use won’t break functionality.
Pebble Health’s functions will not be affected by this update, but some smart features of the platform that depend on third-party services might not last so long. Those capabilities are being tested to determine if they’ll be able to stick around with less support.
Beyond 2017, it looks like it will be up to the Pebble developers’ community to keep the wearables out in the wild up and running.
This doesn’t change much in regard to the longterm life of the Pebble brand — with Fitbit taking over the software and firmware intellectual property with its acquisition, all new hardware going forward will have the Fitbit label.
But for Pebble diehards, the extra year is a reassuring new lease on life. They’ll have some time to find solutions for their beloved smartwatches — or at least 12 months to say goodbye.