After slowing sales, layoffs, and resorting to borrowed money to stay afloat, Pebble is reportedly being acquired by Fitbit. What’s a Kickstarter poster child worth to a fellow smartwatch maker these days? About $40 million, apparently.
Pebble, maker of smart wearable technology, has faced challenges. It’s mostly come from the likes of the Apple Watch and slowing interest in the wearable market. Pebble is known for their simplicity. Even their colour screen offerings do not complicate things drastically. This is a stark contrast from the “do everything your phone does” mentality of Apple, Samsung, and others.
Despite recently launching new smartwatches and fitness trackers, Pebble has failed to replicate its initial success. Now, we can expect Fitbit to absorb Pebble’s tech and intellectual properties into their product line. We should also expect to see future Fitbit products with a distinctive Pebble-like flavour.
In addition to Pebble, their buyer has experienced some growing pains, too. Fitbit stock fell considerably since their IPO last year. Also, sales of their new devices haven’t impressed. They both make amazing devices, and are great examples of wearables done right. However, both companies might be an illustration of the segment’s brief bubble bursting.
The Smartwatch Market
Though still popular among some geeks and fitness freaks, smartwatches and heart rate trackers have lost a little steam. After peaking in 2015, wearable sales have fallen since. Even the Apple Watch, perhaps the most visible player in this space, has seen a 50+% drop year over year.
Has everyone who was going to buy a smartwatch done so already? Perhaps the average consumer can no longer justify paying hundreds for something that is still seen as a novelty, not a necessity. The perception in the market is that your mobile phone already does everything, and there is no need to add peripherals with smaller screens for a premium.
This hasn’t stopped companies from producing beautiful wearables though. Check out our thoughts on the brand new Samsung Gear S3 Frontier!