The kickstarted Pebble smartwatch is now a division of Fitbit, so they may "reduce functionality" on all the watches they ever sold


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/12/07/the-kickstarted-pebble-smartwa.html


#2

There’s a Time Steel sitting wrapped under my tree right now, for me, and I don’t know what to do. Should I return it? Should I get something else? There’s nothing else in the ~$150 area that I like. I’ve wanted this darn thing since the Kickstarter but I couldn’t fund it at the time.


#3

I have hope that the Gadgetbridge project development will pick up and keep these watches viable.


#4

from what i can tell from reading some developer forums the function reliant on the ‘cloud’ is the speech-to-text. if you don’t plan on using that feature (and it’s not really that great IMO) I still would recommend this watch. notifications will still work since thats local to your phone and thats why i wear mine.

i’m pretty sad about all of this, but it’s still and will continue to be a good watch.


#5

Well that’s a relief at least. I mean, that’s a nice feature but it’s not a dealbreaker.


#6

Ouch! I learned my lesson to never touch non-open source devices hardwired to the mothership with the Sansa Connect: a music, video player with wifi to be an Internet radio and picture viewer, software updatable by net. Except that it was locked to Yahoo, and Yahoo gradually pulled the plug on their end.

I think rockbox has bypassed the signed software problem, or I could hack a Pi to pretend to be the mothership, but … life’s too short for that kind of messing around. (It was a electronic warehouse discount buy, so I’m not too upset.)


#7

speech to text has worked for me only a handful of times when replying to a message. also i already look crazy enough that yelling at my wrist in public will only remove the doubt.

not to be flippant about the cost, but this is still cheap as far as grown up watches are concerned. my wife gifted me my first pebble and told me it was the cheapest watch she has ever bought me. it sucks how this is going down for us as consumers, but its gotta suck more to get laid off just before the holidays.


#8

I don’t know anything about Pebbles so don’t know if this is true, but a comment on the Verge article on this suggested that:

…Pebble on the other hand relies heavily on Pebble’s service: the watch itself only stores a handful of the “installed” apps and downloads them on-demand when needed. This means, that with the servers shut down, the watch itself won’t be able to function anymore after a reset, it won’t be able to download it’s apps. And the Pebble resets itself after a bluetooth pairing, so if you ever change your phone, you won’t be able to pair it again without loosing all your Pebble apps. Since FitBit pretty much bought Pebble OS, we can’t even expect an open-source alternative. Your Pebble watches are now on borrowed time (pun intended).


#9

This is why I’ve never trusted the cloud.

Years ago, other tech geeks and IT folks called me a fuddy-duddy for not embracing the exciting new opportunities the cloud enabled. But in the back of my mind, it was this exact kind of shit that made me utterly distrustful: the possibility that a service, product, device, will one day be rendered useless as a brick because someone out there in internet-land shut down a server.

Cloud services, like web pages, are transient. Oh sure, the very best news publications will keep all their old materials archived at the same URL (or at least HTTP-redirected to a new location). But anything that resides somewhere else, out of your control, wlll never be truly reliable.


#10

Interesting to see this Pebble story so close to this one: http://boingboing.net/2016/12/07/vinyl-records-outsold-digital.html
I’m pretty sure they haven’t found a way to embed software in the vinyl, and even if they have, it would be analog, so the DMCA wouldn’t apply.
Watch out for the AMCA coming soon to a territory near you!


#11

I hear you. I don’t even like technology that requires my phone to connect to it to work. Various camera widgets are always going on about how I just need to connect my phone via bluetooth and control the thing!

I just want to control the thing, not make sure that my phone’s battery is charged so I can use this other thing. It’s nice to have the functionality but I shouldn’t require it to get things to work.


#12

Yeah, the speech to text was worse than useless. Google’s is much better than Siri, and even Siri is 10x better than whatever bargain basement piece of trash Pebble was using. Maybe it was old copy of Dragon Dictation running on a Mac under someone’s desk.

So you’re not losing much. It’s a decent tethered watch otherwise. I liked the original one I got from the Kickstarter back before I learned better about Kickstarters.


#13

You should get a iPhone 4 instead. Wait, a Google Nest. Wait a Microsoft Watch Wait a copy of Sims online wait a


#14

Hang on, I’ve got a list of things that definitely work on my Geocities page.


#15

Good question, I’ve bought one for my brother’s Christmas present and I don’t know what to do either - so I’ve spoiled his surprise and asked him if he wants it or whether I should return it to Amazon.

One thing you might want to consider is that Pebble has voided all warranties on their devices which means if it is DOA or dies during the next year you’re completely out of luck - and there is no legal recourse since Pebble the company has not been sold to FitBit - just the IP.

Likewise, Pebble has also cut off all refunds for returns effective yesterday so anyone not in the know that the company was going to do this and bought one from their site can’t go down that route either.

What’s really wretched is the tone of Pebble’s announcement to their Kickstarter community. They seem to think that buggering off and leaving all their community high and dry can be overcome by talking about a journey.

One question I’d love to know the answer to is when did Pebble know this was going to happen and were they soliciting funds on Kickstarter at the time?


#16

Yeah, I was really disgusted by the smarmy bit of oh so chipper email I got this morning (after hearing about it on RSS feed). It’s total Silicon Valley cliche - ‘We know you’ll respect the DEEP COURAGE (TM Apple) we’ve had in jettisoning you as a stepping stone, sayonara suckers!’


#17

If you’re lucky enough to have purchased from Amazon, I would get that money back. An unsupported, no-warranty piece of new tech seems like such a liability.

I’m convinced now that Kickstarters and the like are only for supporting causes and people that you would support anyway, and that any merchandise you get should be seen as a bonus, not the reason to sign on.


#18

Yeah, that’s the decision I arrived at today after looking through comments about it. I’m really bummed. And Mr. Bells is in a panic because he bought something he knew I wanted and now he has to send it back. I think I’m gonna just get a Fitbit Alta. It’s got most of the functions I want, I can swap bands, and there’s just not another smartwatch I like.


#19

I was looking forward to a Pebble Time 2 to replace my steel… guess I’ll look at Android Wear watches? I liked the idea of not charging my watch every night, but I’m already plugging in my phone… I guess plugging in (or docking) a watch every night isn’t all that bad.


#20

This is what I’m doing. I actually run the android watch down less often than I did with the Pebble because if you do it every night it’s really easy to put it there at the same time you put your phone there. Whereas with the Pebble if it’s ‘about a week’ then it takes mental effort or setting up an alarm to charge your watch!

OTOH you are now committed to bringing your charger along even on short overnight trips.