Thursday, December 8, 2016

Why I Will Never Buy Anything from Fitbit

I'm a Pebble watch owner. I have been for a couple years now, and I remember when the first Pebble Kickstarter was announced, I instantly wanted one. I thought the idea of a smartwatch that used an eInk-style screen was the smartest implementation because you didn't have to charge it every night. With the release of the Time 2, I was getting the ol' wallet ready, because even though I don't care to keep track of my heart rate, it's a cool feature to have. Then I see in my email yesterday a nice little letter from Fitbit announcing their acquisition of Pebble. Now I had heard rumors of this, but didn't think much of them, and just figured Fitbit would want to make money off both the fitness folk, and the smartwatch people like me. Turns out I was wrong. They only wanted the software side of Pebble, and announced they were discontinuing the line of watches, including the warranties, and possibly updates to the software. Now I'm pissed.

In a smart acquisition, you either do it because you compete head on and you want the other team gone, or you want what they have. What does Fitbit gain from Pebble's software development? The sole purpose of buying a Fitbit is to keep track of your health, and maybe receive the occasional notification from your phone. What does Pebble have that Fitbit didn't want to develop themselves? Also, why discontinue the watch line? Fitbit has nothing that competes with the Pebble watches. Maybe the Blaze did, but its emphasis was more towards fitness anyway, as the Blaze barely connects to the phone in the same way the Pebble did. Speaking about competition, no one that bought or was thinking about buying a Pebble had a Fitbit anywhere near their list of options. Again, maybe the Blaze, but that is one out of six Fitbits that could've competed with Pebble's entire lineup. My point being that Pebble was barely a competitor. Now, lets just say you bought a Pebble recently and now have to make a decision what the next smartwatch purchase should be; is Fitbit going to be anywhere on your list after this? I don't know about you, but I do not trust Fitbit. If they're going to just discontinue a product line upon acquisition, why should I trust them to support anything I buy for a long-term purchase? There are certainly other choices, but I really didn't want to have to find another choice.

Fitbit had everything I was looking for in a smartwatch. It had a battery life that lasts a week, it's compatible with almost any phone, it was priced extremely well, and it has this great community of developers that really care to make great watch faces, and apps. You just can't find that anywhere else. I guess I'm going to have to investigate Android Wear. Thanks to Pebble for crowd-funding a great product. And thanks Fitbit for making my decision to go elsewhere easier.