If you backed the Pebble Time 2 or Pebble Core on Kickstarter, expect to get a refund and no watch. According to reports, Fitbit will kill off both of Pebble's highly-anticipated devices as part of its acquisition of the company, which is mainly about getting its hands on Pebble's software.
News of Pebble's end comes as sad news to anyone who has watched the company since its humble beginnings blossom into crowdfunding darling. Launched on Kickstarter in 2012, the Pebble smartwatch was a hit with backers and became one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns of all time, raising some $10m (£8m, €9.3m) in funding.
Three years later, the company's Pebble Time watch managed to smash the record set by its predecessor after raising more than $20.3m, with backers throwing $1m at the campaign in less than an hour. Pebble was aiming for a trifecta with the Pebble 2, Pebble Time 2 and Pebble Core fitness wearable, announced in May this year.
Funding for the latest devices current sits at $12.8m on Kickstarter, although it now appears that all of this will be returned to investors and its devices never see the light of day. According to Bloomberg, Fitbit's takeover is an attempt to better position itself against Apple in the smartwatch market and is mainly concerned with Pebble's intellectual property, namely its proprietary operating system. As such, the company's hardware will be sold off separately.
While Pebble has been a hit with project backers, it has struggled to keep itself afloat in a smartwatch market that doesn't appear to be going anywhere. Even Apple has found goings tough: shipments of the Apple Watch nosedived 71% year-on-year in Q3, contrary to CEO Tim Cook's ongoing attempts to gloss over the topic with vague comments on how well the device is performing. Apple has yet to release any statistics on Apple Watch sales.
As for Pebble, it looks like a sad end to the Kickstarter love story. Fitbit is said to have offered no more than $40m for the company, which is less than the debt owed by the start-up. Fitbit won't be taking on this debt, Bloomberg said, meanwhile any stock held by Pebble employees will be rendered "worthless" and money will go to paying off the company's financial obligations.
Both Fitbit and Pebble have yet to respond to a request for comment from IBTimes UK.
UPDATE 16:05 GMT: Since publishing this story, Fitbit has announced that it has acquired "specific assets" from Pebble, including "key personnel and intellectual property related to software and firmware development. " As previously reported, the acquisition excludes hardware assets.
In a separate statement, Pebble confirmed that it will no longer manufacture Pebble devices and that those who had yet to receive the latest products from Kickstarter will receive a refund. While Pebble devices will continue to work as normal, the company warned that "Pebble functionality or service quality may be reduced in the future."