After June 30, 2018, all support will be suspended for the Pebble smartwatch, a brand that Fitbit acquired more than a year ago for $23 million. Here are some of the things that will happen after the June deadline:
- Some of the features that will be sunset after June: the App Store, the cloud development tool, the forum, voice recognition, email replies and texting.
- The Pebble app on iOS and Android will still work, but no updates or security patches will be available after the date.
- Notifications will keep working as long as the Pebble app works.
- Pebble owners will be offered $50 off when they buy a Fitbit Ionic.
- Fitbit is luring these users by highlighting how several Pebble features are available on Fitbit’s own hardware, including the clock face and certain apps.
Fitbit is going through its own troubles as the company reported a net loss of $113.4 million for the third quarter of 2017, bringing the nine-month loss to $231.7 million. Sales have also dropped year over year, with only 3.6 million devices sold in the third quarter of 2017 compared to 5.3 million sold in the year-ago period.
The outlook for smartwatch products was once bleak, but IDC now says that it could double by 2021 on the back of strong growth from smart and basic watches:
“watches (both smart and basic) are on track to take the lead and are expected to grow from 61.5 million in 2017 to 149.5 million in 2021 as more vendors – particularly fashion brands—and cellular connectivity built into smartwatches help to drive growth in this category.”
The shift is clearly happening from smart bands to smart watches, but more than health and fitness features, it’s the fashion appeal that is likely to drive this growth, says IDC’s senior research analyst for mobile device trackers, Jitesh Ubrani.
Smartwatch shipments are expected to more than double between 2017 and 2021, moving from the current 31.6 million up to 71.5 million. Most of that growth will come from Apple Watch sales, but newer players like Fitbit will definitely enjoy some of the tailwinds that this forecast portends.
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