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  • Pebble Reportedly Struggling Following the Launch of the Apple Watch


    According to the folks over at TechCrunch, Silicon Valley venture capitalists are reportedly turning down requests from smartwatch maker Pebble for funding. This move as a whole is pointing toward speculation that the company may be struggling due to the launch of the Apple Watch. The company ended up obtaining a $5 million loan and another $5 million line of credit from a bank after several efforts to secure venture capital funding were all denied.

    The alleged troubles come despite the fact that the company previously raised more than $20 million on Kickstarter for its latest model, the Pebble Time. This blockbuster crowdfunding success ended up amounting to the largest crowdfunding campaign in history. Though Pebble has found success as a startup, the total sales all pale in comparison to wearable devices sold by larger more established companies. For example, the estimated 700,000 devices that Pebble sold in 2014 helped the company earn a mere 7% of smartwatch profits with its low-end strategy.

    The company’s strategy as a whole, which is to target the low-end of the fledgling smartwatch market may be a difficult path for Pebble to navigate as sources are indicating to TechCrunch that the company needs funds “in order to stay afloat.” The companies upcoming Pebble Time is set to take on the Apple Watch with a color, always-on e-ink display that offers up to 7 days of battery life before recharging. The Apple Watch in its current state needs to be recharged daily and touts an OLED screen which turns off when the device isn’t being used.

    We’ll have to wait and see what happens but this is exactly what many had expected to happen once the Apple Watch was released. If Pebble doesn’t do something drastic though, the survival of the fittest saying may end up knocking the company out of the competition.

    Source: TechCrunch
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Pebble Reportedly Struggling Following the Launch of the Apple Watch started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. eballesq's Avatar
      eballesq -
      I had a Pebble Steel I grew tired of very quickly due to its limitations, and sold it on eBay shortly before ordering my Apple Watch. The products don't compare, and the "battery issue" is in my opinion nothing more than a red herring. If you can't take your watch off at night to plug in the charger, you've got issues.

      I would predict that Pebble will not survive.
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      This blockbuster crowdfunding success ended up amounting to the largest crowdfunding campaign in history.


      That is a LOT. Just think, Star Citizen is currently at $70m+ and counting! I feel that other areas of life can also be considered 'crowd-funded,' such as Obama's presidency (more than $1b), and cancer research ($Umpteen Kajillion). For the time maybe Pebble was the largest "internet-based" crowdfunding campaign?

      Either way, these are all numbers so large their fantastical and unreal, like a unicorn - I'm always shocked to learn how people spend their money

      But more on-topic, I'm now wondering how profitable the Apple Watch will be for Apple. You have to consider that Apple likely spent billions on the design and manufacturing of this watch - how long before they recoup their investment? It seems like the watch is not being mass produced anywhere near the massive scale that the iPhone has been.

      Now that physical well-being is sort of a cultural priority for the Western world, maybe wearable tech will take off and become a much larger industry - Apple is certainly betting on that! But for now it's kind of a niche thing, so it would be a shame if Pebble can't stay afloat just because Apple leaned on them a little bit in what currently amounts to Johnny Ive's little pet project, not when the industry has not even begun to solidify.

      Pebble will likely go bankrupt, then be bought out by a Chinese company, manufactured more cheaply, and then make billion$ in the next few decades. Isn't that how it always goes?
    1. CZroe's Avatar
      CZroe -
      Love my Pebble, though it's not exactly what I want. I hate the very idea of a full-color touch screen smart watch. My ideal smartwatch would be the ancient Sony Ericsson MBW-150 updated to work with modern phones.
    1. bigbaba's Avatar
      bigbaba -
      This is too bad. In terms of wearable tech I think the original pebble hit the mark right on the nose with its price point. It is a piece of tech that you are going to replace in 2-3 years, yet it only cost $150. While I have watches that are worth $8000 and up; they will work just the same for decades. All of these smart watches will become obsolete and need to be replaced in 2-3 years. I think smart watches are the biggest flop of this decade.
    1. eballesq's Avatar
      eballesq -
      Quote Originally Posted by bigbaba View Post
      This is too bad. In terms of wearable tech I think the original pebble hit the mark right on the nose with its price point. It is a piece of tech that you are going to replace in 2-3 years, yet it only cost $150. While I have watches that are worth $8000 and up; they will work just the same for decades. All of these smart watches will become obsolete and need to be replaced in 2-3 years. I think smart watches are the biggest flop of this decade.
      I disagree. The purpose of the smartwatch, in my opinion, is to keep the phone in your pocket so you can actually interact with the world more. The Pebble did not accomplish this; the Apple Watch does. I've already found myself looking at my phone significantly less (and no, I'm not constantly staring at my watch, either). The quick glances and ease of responding or dismissing are fantastic.

      If you can afford $150 every 2-3 years, you can probably afford $350. Just sayin'...
    1. x999x's Avatar
      x999x -
      Not sure where you extrapolated "due to the apple watch launch" from while every other outlet is saying pebble sought the infusion because it can't keep up with their own growth.