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Yesterday the official news came down that Pebble sold their intellectual property to Fitbit. I got my first smartwatch 4 years ago and it was a Pebble. Even though I moved on to other smartwatches, I still had a soft spot for the company and their products. While not the first smartwatch, Pebble was the first wearable device to take hold in the imagination of people and allowed people to imagine what a smart watch should and could do. For me it allowed me to realize what I needed in a smartwatch. Something to be able to triage notifications and possibly reply to things if a quick, canned reply was needed.
Pebble was a trailblazer. I don’t want to say they were ahead of their time but the were early in the game. Sadly when the mobile OSs like Android and watchOS came about they lost their advantage, especially when it came to iPhones1. I would even say that Pebble’s rise and fall mirror, in some way, that of another third party hardware maker, Palm. Both were tech darlings and crashed when better funded companies got into the market.
Today when you look at your appleWatch or AndroidWear device, just remember the company that got the ball rolling on wearable technology.
- Whether or not it was fair for Apple to do this is a matter for debate. Strictly as a business matter it made sense. ↩