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Fitbit won't ax Pebble smartwatch services for at least a year

Service will continue running through 2017, but dependence on third-party apps will be reduced.

Still ticking in the new year.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Owners of Pebble's smartwatches don't have to worry about their devices suddenly stopping after the company's acquisition by Fitbit.

The fate of the devices was left in doubt last week after the announcement that Fitbit, one of the biggest names fitness trackers, would acquire the assets and intellectual property of Pebble. But Fitbit is telling Pebble customers they can expect their devices to continue ticking until at least through 2017.

"Fitbit is going out of its way to keep Pebble software and services running through 2017," Jon Barlow, a developer advocate at Fitbit, wrote in a blog post. "To be clear, no one on this freshly-formed team seeks to brick Pebble watches in active service. The Pebble SDK, CloudPebble, Timeline APIs, firmware availability, mobile apps, developer portal and Pebble appstore are all elements of the Pebble ecosystem that will remain in service at this time."

But the survival of third-party apps is in question. Fitbit did say it would work to reduce the mobile apps' dependence on third-party services such as authentication, analytics and app locker.

"The mobile app updates will ensure the operation of core Pebble functions, even with cloud services discontinued -- they won't break functionality," Barlow wrote. "After this update, Pebble Health will continue to work as it does today."