April 10, 2017
After the acquisition of Pebble by Fitbit last year, Pebble owners have been very anxious about their smartwatches. But the good news is the company has released an update to the Pebble app for iOS and Android versions that ends dependency on its cloud services. This will ensure the functioning of the smartwatches after Fitbit shuts down Pebble’s servers later this year. The acquisition includes Pebble’s intellectual property and technology, still it has promised to keep the existing software and services up and running, only through 2017.
The update will allow users to continue using their Pebble smartwatches in offline mode. In a blog post, Pebble explains that the mobile apps will let Pebble devices keep working if its authentication server couldn’t be reached. This means they will be able to side-load apps and new firmware to their smartwatches. Despite this, it’s still not clear how the users can access features like dictation, messaging and weather which are based on cloud services. Customer support and requesting for new features from the companion app has also been removed. It’s not a perfect fix, but it seems Pebble users will have to manage with just the basic features of their watches. iOS users can update their Pebble app from the iTunes App Store, while Android users enrolled in the Pebble beta program can download the update from their beta channel.
James Park, CEO of Fitbit, says that the acquisition of Pebble will ultimately offer products that could be used as a part of daily life and not just for fitness purposes. Pebble will cease to exist but Fitbit will use its technologies to enhance its own products.