Fitbit today confirmed rumours that started to swirl last week that it will acquire some of Pebble’s assets. It announced that is acquiring “specific assets” that include key personnel and intellectual property related to software and firmware development. As reported earlier, hardware is not part of the deal.
“With basic wearables getting smarter and smartwatches adding health and fitness capabilities, we see an opportunity to build on our strengths and extend our leadership position in the wearables category,” said James Park, CEO and co-founder of Fitbit. “With this acquisition, we’re well positioned to accelerate the expansion of our platform and ecosystem to make Fitbit a vital part of daily life for a wider set of consumers, as well as build the tools healthcare providers, insurers and employers need to more meaningfully integrate wearable technology into preventative and chronic care.”
Fitbit expects that the assets it acquired from Pebble will help it in a number of ways. It will speed up the roll out of new products, features and functionality. It should also prove beneficial toFitbit Group Health customers and partners such as researchers and health providers.
The transaction was completed yesterday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but earlier reports suggest that Fitbit paid about US$40 million.
On the hardware side, Pebble has already stopped promoting, manufacturing, or selling any devices. Existing devices will continue to work as normal but the company warns that “Pebble functionality or service quality may be reduced in the future.” Future devices, including the Pebble Time 2, have been cancelled.
Pebble sold more than two million smartwatches since it unveiled its first model back in 2012. Unfortunately, smartwatches have yet to firmly establish themselves as a viable product. IDC recently described the current smartwatch market as going through a “round of growing pains” even as it remains optimistic over long-term prospects. Sadly, Pebble will not be there to see that expected upturn.