The latest update to Pebble’s app will decouple Pebble smartwatches from the company’s cloud servers so that basic features remain accessible though how other cloud-dependent features will work remains to be seen.
Fitbit acquired Pebble last year but promised continued support for existing Pebble devices throughout 2017. The company also added that there will be a future update to loosen Pebble’s mobile apps’ dependency on cloud servers so that existing smartwatches can continue to function when the servers are eventually shut down. And indeed, that time has come.
The latest software update – version 4.4 – will let “Pebble devices keep working, even if online servers are not accessible for any reason,” meaning users will still be able to side-load apps and install firmware as well as language packs. Though it looks like basic features will continue to work as they did before the acquisition, the question remains, “What about other more advanced features that depend on cloud servers?”
For example, as we reported before, features like dictation, messaging, and weather all rely on cloud services, and neither Pebble nor Fitbit has commented whether or not they have found a way to keep these features live even after the sever shutdown.
Along with this decoupling, the update removes a few features that were directly related to Pebble.
Along with this decoupling, the update removes a few features that were directly related to Pebble: rather unsurprisingly, the option to Contact Support is now gone although the update notes that users can still use the functionality to export diagnostic data. Health data collection and telemetry reporting have also been removed, and so was the option to suggest new features through the app.
While the update may seem like a downgrade, not only does it address a few bugs, without it, your watch will become quite literally useless when the company shuts down its cloud servers.
Do you own a Pebble smartwatch? What are your plans for when they stop supporting your device? Let us know.