back to article Fitbit hit on Pebble kit cost just 20 million quid? Oh s**t!

Fitbit has confirmed the long-held belief that it scooped up rival wearables maker Pebble for a bargain basement price before murdering the watchmaker. Exercise-band maker Fitbit said in its latest quarterly earnings on Wednesday that it paid a mere $23m (£19m) when it agreed to purchase and then kill off Pebble's line of …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If they are losing money...

    .. then maybe the purpose is to gather information about people and feed it back to the US.

    Other surveillance tools you can buy into include Facebook, Google, Windows 10, Amazon. All gathering your information - personal details, likes and dislikes, location, health, search history, computer usage, what you say and who you say it to, your location...

    Big Brother didn't need to install spying into your life - turns out people are prepared to pay for it to happen to them.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: If they are losing money...

      I hope el reg isn't selling my up votes.

    2. NightFox
      Black Helicopters

      Re: If they are losing money...

      We need a new version of Godwin's law - one that relates to Big Brother rather than Hitler.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If they are losing money...

        Why? Godwin's law is stupid.

        Orwellian is overused because we're living in an Orwellian world.

        1. Moosh
          Paris Hilton

          Re: If they are losing money...

          We're actually living in a Huxleyan/Orwellian fusion dystopia.

          We drug the masses with frivolity, pleasure and too much information while also cracking down 1984 style behind the scenes and keeping everything important secret.

          Icon related.

          1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

            Re: If they are losing money...

            "We're actually living in a Huxleyan/Orwellian fusion dystopia."

            You lucky buggers, we're living in the USA and long for a Huxleyan/Orwellian fusion dystopia. Still, maybe after the next election things will improve and we'll get there.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: If they are losing money...

            "We drug the masses with frivolity, pleasure and too much information while also cracking down 1984 style behind the scenes and keeping everything important secret."

            This is the best one-liners I've seen as a comment on modern society. Have an upvote.

    3. IsJustabloke

      Re: If they are losing money...

      How do you make it through a single day?

  2. IrishFella

    I loved my Pebble

    It felt punk and retro-new. I was at a comedy gig in Central London once and the comedian, one of the writers on The Daily Show, stopped the gig, asked me if I was wearing a Pebble. "Five days of battery life, FUCK YOU APPLE"

  3. tin 2

    DEATH to fitbit for such murder.

    And frankly same to the morons running Pebble like it was some Apple competitor rather than just the plucky little bit-part smartwatch maker it was.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      That's Silicon Valley VCs for you. I'm sure there's a book and probably also a film in the rise and fall of Pebble…

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      What murder?

      Pebble committed suicide the moment it got onto the "new product" + VC money bandwagon.

      They should have realized that there is a reason why they never got money from the VCs initially and were able to take off only based on crowdsourcing. The moment they tried to run it like a regular company which has to show "growth per year", "new products at this consumer show" and have the scumbags which are associated with this process on the board was the moment they stuck the wakizashi in their abdomen. FitBit's assistance with the katana was the "assistant saving grace", completing the process of sepuku, not the actual act of ritual suicide.

      1. tin 2

        Re: What murder?

        Yes Pebble attempted to commit suicide (my 2nd point) but fitbit can easily go to market with the same product - fitbit branded if their marketing department can't take it - but they are not. They murdered the product.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Whoops, it looks like The Consumer (heretofore referred to as you) got caught up in the Silicon Valley Dream. It goes a little something like this; invent a thing, a popular high-tech thing that lots of people would also like to have, get them to help fund it because regular VC are vampires, great success, sell it off to anyone for millions of dollars, retire to Bahamas or start new company by inventing another thing, rinse, repeat.

      Nothing is forever. Not even the moon or the sky or your smartphone or your cat or that bit of fluff in your pocket or your other cat or a bag of rice or a burrito or some of those little round brown mats you use to put hot kettles on or breakfast cereals or orangutans or fruit bats or ...

      1. SolidSquid

        At the end of the universe there will be nothing except a stack of Nokia 3310s

  4. James 51 Silver badge

    I'll be holding onto my pebble steel for a long, long time.

    1. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Good luck with that. I've had my original pebble steel replaced twice under warranty now. Failed in October every year after 9 months each time. Screen corruption that just cannot be recovered from. Shame really because if it goes again that's my lot and I don't know what to replace it with. I always said I'd never go for a colour and all the gadgets smartwatch as they seem to me to be more of an inconvenience with their poor battery life.

      Pebble should have stuck at it, they really had a niche product. Their service was excellent too. Does anyone know of any products like it?

      1. James 51 Silver badge

        I had problems with my orginal steel too, the battery life was woeful. Had to charge it twice a day. The second one has faired better. After 18 months charge every third day.

      2. Dr Wadd

        If it is the same screen corruption problem as with some of the earlier Pebbles you can fix that by popping off the back and jamming in a ball of tissue paper to apply extra pressure to the screen's zebra connector.

    2. Stuart 22

      "I'll be holding onto my pebble steel for a long, long time."

      Same here (for el cheapo plastic variant). Surprised this morning to find a firmware update (v3.12.3) waiting. I thought plugs had been pulled on updates or did I just miss it when it came out?

      The beer is for the best recommendation for replacement when it finally bites the dust.

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        @Stuart I think you missed it when it came out. I've been running that firmware for a while now. That'll be the last I'm sure.

  5. wolfetone Silver badge

    FitBit are going to struggle, because price wise they can't (or they're not) competing.

    Two days ago I took delivery of a Xaomi Mi Band 2. An AliExpress special, cost me £13. It does everything - as far as I can tell - what a FitBit can do. I started using it at 93% battery, I left it on the last two nights to do the sleep thing, it's sat at 80% right now.

    I'm sure the FitBit can boast the same or comparable battery life, but there's a difference between something lasting on a charge for a week for £13 compared to something lasting the same amount of time for £100 isn't there?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yep. When I was looking at a replacement for the cancelled Pebble I came to much the same conclusion; even if I wasn't peed off with Fitbit for killing Pebble I'd still be looking elsewhere.

    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      The biggest difference is who gets access to your health data. The Chinese or the US. This has been my biggest problem with these health tracking devices, though I could probably use one. They all seem to want access to EVERYTHING you own and or do on your phone.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        "The biggest difference is who gets access to your health data. The Chinese or the US. This has been my biggest problem with these health tracking devices, though I could probably use one. They all seem to want access to EVERYTHING you own and or do on your phone."

        That's the overwhelmingly bad security issue joy of Android devices.

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          You think it's ANY different on Apple devices? Or Win Phone?

          1. wolfetone Silver badge

            An iPhone, from what I remember, allowed you to say "You can access my photos and my contacts, but you can't access my camera or microphone". Whether or not that was actually heeded by the app (most times it was) at least you were given the choice.

            When I installed the Xaomi Mi Fit app, it said it wanted access to contacts etc etc. Do you think I had the option to stop it? No I didn't. But if it was on an iPhone I could've had that choice, even if it was a placebo.

            1. n0r0imusha

              then you must have some old device, granular permissions are in android , maybe from 6 but definitely from 7

            2. Rosie Davies


              You can do all that sort of thing on a droid as well. Certainly if you're running LineageOS (the phoenix arisen type version of Cyanogenmod).

              Plus no phone vendor/network installed nonsense that drains the battery and doesn't do anything useful. Seems stable enough on an old M8 I've had for about 4 years, I sometimes need to reboot because the wifi gets a tad confuddled. It seems to be getting better with each weekly release as well.

              So I don't think the Android spying on you problem is necessarily and Android problem, more a problem to some implementations of Android. You have a choice which implementation of Android you use, which you won't get with an iPhone. Though I understand that for some the lack of choice is a Good Thing(tm), I'm a stroppy mare who doesn't like being told what to do. Certainly not by a computer.

              Which is why I keep a bucket of salty water handy at all times.


          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "You think it's ANY different on Apple devices? Or Win Phone?"

            Yes, and No. For WinPhone (remember those, Precious?) you can bet Microsoft is going to manage your data and privacy like they do with Xbox Live, or O365, or Win10 and its Amazing Technicolor Telemetry. Badly. At least with Apple they are not in bed with their government, like every single Chinese company is, and they seem to be using my data in a sensible, respectful, and protective manner. Simply put, I will continue to trust Apple with my data long after you give up on your privacy and just go with whatever is available, foregoing any security. Face it, the iPhone and the Pixel/Nexus are your ONLY options for a moderately secure consumer device. Google also seems to handle my data responsibly, and like Apple I am not bombarded by "strangely relevant adverts" in any of their apps. And the ones that do appear in the Gmail webapp are nicely off to the side and not all flashy and in my main list like Yahoo! does. I'll stick with Google and Apple, thank you. The other choices smell like shit.

            I just setup Microsoft Teams at work and that god damn thing is constantly asking me to try the mobile app, or the desktop app, even when I downloaded the fucking thing. It's garbage.

            1. imanidiot Silver badge

              "At least with Apple they are not in bed with their government"


              Sure they're not...

  6. Mage Silver badge

    Sad though

    Though Orwell was writing about contemporary 1948 in "1984", many main stream SF authors saw a dystopian future were the world was ruled by a few mega-corps.

    We have seen "consolidation" in food (all the companies making up Heinz-Kraft and Unilever and Nestlé), Chips (NXP and others eaten by Qualcomm, Altera and others by Intel, Softbank eating many, not juast ARM, Analog Devices & Linear Technology, Texas & Nat. Semi. Microchip & Atmel, and more), Hard Drives, OSes (we are down to 2 main and one niche desktop, 2 main and several niche servers, two mobile). Car & Truck makers, Aircraft makers. Credit card companies, Energy companies, Tobacco companies, Alcoholic Drinks Companies. Bananas etc.

    Media Giants.

    TV sports Rights..

    Big six paperback publishers (eBooks though are healty apart from Amazon's KDP Select & Prime distortion.

    Ebay, Amazon, PayPal, Wikipedia, Facebook, Google almost monopolies in different areas. It seems the Internet has a positive feedback where instead of the envisaged diversity you get one operator per kind of thing.

    1. Drem

      Re: Sad though

      I look forward to the start of the inaugural Rollerball league meeting.

      Go Houston!

      1. IsJustabloke

        Re: Sad though

        "I look forward to the start of the inaugural Rollerball league"

        As long as we get teh original version and not the shitty remake version.

  7. cliosguy

    my 2 cents

    I went the android wear route after they refund me for the pebble time 2, bought an Asus Zenwatch2; I feel this whole pebble fiasco was a blessing in disguise, I enjoy my Asus very much, plus, someone gave me a gear fit2, which much to my surprise is pretty spot on for a fitness tracker first-smartwatch second.

    What really bothers me is that news of the pebble selling out, or better put, giving themselves away for "free" puts the whole wearable market in doubt; leaving apple outside, since they are on a completely different market, I feel things don't look too good for wearables in the future, at least outside run of the mill fitness trackers :/

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