Fitbit to buy Pebble – reports

Leading fitness-tracker maker Fitbit is near a deal to acquire troubled smartwatch vendor Pebble according to a report from The Information (subscription required). 

There is no firm price in place, but it is believed that the deal will be between $34 million and $40 million (£27 million and £32 million). This is a figure which is around half of what Intel was reportedly willing to pay for Pebble following the underwhelming the launch of the Pebble Time Round, and a twentieth of what Citizen was reportedly ready to pay in 2015.

Pebble has come on hard times after it effectively kickstarted the smartwatch fad with its Kickstarter campaign in 2012 that raised $10 million (£8 million) before many vendors had even considered the smartwatch as a potential area of investment.

Since then however, Pebble has seen itself become dwarfed in a space dominated by the financial clout of Motorola, Apple and Samsung. It has released seven watches since 2012, including this year’s Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2, but the company has struggled financially in recent months, having been forced to lay off nearly a quarter of its staff in March.

In 2016 it seems that Pebble’s brand is not worth that much, and Fitbit is said to be buying Pebble for its watch operating system, Pebble OS.

Fitbit has been trying to expand beyond creating simple fitness trackers and into the smartwatch space. The company released the Fitbit Blaze this year and while reviews were generally positive as a fitness tracker, its smartwatch functionality was found lacking. One would think that this aquisition will see the team behind Pebble OS bring that tech to the Fitbit platform to create devices which will compete better against the Samsung Gears and Apple Watches of this world.

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