Pebble is laying off a quarter of its employees - here's why

The smartwatch underdog is having some money problems

We know that Pebble is looking after its loyal users with regular updates but Eric Migicovsky's company is having a harder time looking after its employees.

Pebble's CEO revealed this week that he is letting go 40 members of staff, which is around 25% of the entire Pebble workforce. Why? Investment - at least in Pebble - is apparently pretty tight in Silicon Valley at the moment.

Read this: Pebble tells us about its next updates and why you get so many

"We got this money," he said, "but money [among VCs] is pretty tight these days." This money refers to the $26 million which Migicovsky has raised in the past eight months.

We're not going to speculate on why Pebble is scaling back its operations and we've requested a comment. Some are claiming this is part of a wider trend in wearables with Fitbit's wobbly stock market activity and the Apple Watch's recent price cuts (not to mention Pebble cutting its own prices).

For now, we'd say that the smartwatch business, in particular, seems to be suffering from lower than expected sales. That's in part because people aren't willing to pay quite as much as tech companies want them to.

We still don't know how many Pebble smartwatches have been sold in total, only that it was over 1 million sold in early 2015 plus around a further 100,000 Time and Time Steel watches in the company's second Kickstarter campaign. Since then Pebble has also launched the Time Round which is aimed at a more mainstream audience and we've seen a number of Pebble Smartstraps in development.

As the original wearable tech underdog, we hope Pebble bounces back from its current financial troubles. Its smartwatches bring some interesting ideas that deserve as much attention as what Apple, Google and co are doing.

Via: Tech Insider

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  • yogibimbi·

    Yep, problem so far with smartwatches is, that the "dumb" smartwatches, aka the ones that don't make much sense without a phone cater to a demagogic that either does not have much space between all the bling-bling on their wrists, or doesn't see the value in half-assed attempts to pull a couple more Benajmins out of their wallets while a full-features middle-echelon smartphone costs the same. Neither of those groups are watch-wearers to start with.

    Then you have two other groups, one who is tech-savy and would like to have a watch, but the ridiculously incomplete an inherent attempts currently on the market won't have them scrambling for their credit cards anytime soon, they need full cellular connectivity (like the LG Urbane 2) and at a price that leaves some breathing space to better-specced smartphones. The novelty alone isn't worth the markup. Actually, the proposed price of the LG Urbane 2 is borderline acceptable, LG did not price it out of the market.
    But then we come to the second group, where LG also falls short, which are the people that are already wearing sophisticated pieces of tech on their wrists, and at a price point of a couple of hundred bucks, such as the Suunto watches or any one of TomTom's or Garmin's offerings. But if your watch does not provide waterproofness AND GPS, it is not even in the race. Android Wear is a nice gimmick, but if the watch it comes with is not able to replace the one that I am wearing, literally, ALL of the time (in the pool, in the sauna, in the office), why bother AT ALL? It's not like I am swapping watches once I enter the gym or the pool area.
    So, the LG Urban 2 and Nixon The Mission are the first watches that, imho go beyond the gimmick stage and it will be interesting to see, how they stack up. The killer product would be a watch that unites the specs of the two, plus the Gear 2's rotating bezel.
    Other than that, the Pebble will keep collecting the lower end users who just need their watch to keep time (nothing wrong with that), offer a couple apps, have a decent battery life, be durable and to not break the bank and, by the looks of it, that demagogic is pretty much saturated (that is where the durability sort of sucks for the companies). The Gear 2 would hit the upper end of that group if it cost HALF of its price, so, that is probably a nice illustration of what's wrong.

    • yogibimbi·

      "inconherent" instead of "Inherent" - damnit, if I can sign on with facebook, why can't I edit my comments???

  • gghose·

    A followup on the Gear 2 part: I have the 3G version and it's very very nice. It has it's own LTE receiver and phone number (I'm on T-mobile) and is really quite independent of a phone (you still need to phone to upload apps). It's water resistant (showers are ok) and has a GPS and wireless charging. A lot of people complain about apps, which I don't really understand. It has a few (like Yelp), but I don't want to spend a lot of time talking (or trying to type) to my watch. For me notifications, calendar, heart rate tracking, phone calling, texting, and music playing are just right (I'm in front of a computer most of the time, so I realize that might be different for people traveling constantly, for example). Most days, I just leave my phone in my car, for navigation and music, and have my watch on me. It's actually really nice not to have to carry around a phone....reminds me of the good old days. This is especially true when exercising.