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Fitbit Buys Vector, Romanian Startup's Existing Smartwatches Won't Receive Software Updates Anymore (engadget.com) 101

An anonymous reader shares an Engadget report: One of the more surprising smartwatches of 2015 was from Vector, a Romanian startup led by former Citizen executives. Its 30-day battery life, Pebble-esque UI and classic watch design made it a great device for someone seeking a less ostentatiously geeky wearable. Now, the company has revealed that Fitbit has purchased it and its employees will be joining the fitness wearables firm. Unfortunately for Vector owners, Fitbit will be integrating Vector's hardware and software know-how into its own organization. That means that Vector, as a brand, will die off, and while its watches will remain operational, you can kiss any hope for software updates and new hardware goodbye.
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Fitbit Buys Vector, Romanian Startup's Existing Smartwatches Won't Receive Software Updates Anymore

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  • One-sided summary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @12:46PM (#53642213)

    The summary, to me, reads as though Fitbit is the villain. It could just as easily been written something like this:

    Smartwatch maker Vector has gone bankrupt. Vector, as a brand, will die off, and while its watches will remain operational, you can kiss any hope for software updates and new hardware goodbye. Fitbit has purchased it and its employees will be joining the fitness wearables firm, who will be hard at work integrating Vector's hardware and software know-how into their new organization.

    All those employees will remain employed now, hooray! But positiveness doesn't sell ad impressions.

    • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @12:53PM (#53642273) Journal

      I've read the summary, and the linked article, and from both I didn't get the whole "bankrupt" thing. If you're going to present new information, at least link a source so we can verify.

      I did see where Pebble went bankrupt and Fitbit bought its assets (last month), but I have seen no such news on Vector. Could you please link to a source for your claim?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It was in general a bad article to link to in the first place, being lifted almost in its entirety for the summary. Vector's press release [vectorwatch.com] is a lot more detailed. Reading through the lines -- yes, conjecture -- it sounds like they needed cash to continue with their product, and Fitbit was the solution they were looking for.

        More interestingly, they say:

        Our aim is to make our integration in the Fitbit family as seamless as possible with no impact on you, our customers. Our smartwatches will maintain functionalities and features.

        So it sounds like there will in fact be new hardware, but it will be Fitbit branded as this is their new parent company's name. But again, this is just conjec

      • by CByrd17 ( 987455 )

        The original poster wrote "It could have easily been written something like this:"

        Meaning that if the company just went bankrupt the same article could be written, except everyone loses their jobs.

        I suspect that the article submitter has some kind of idea that FitBit should include support for the products of the company that they purchased forever.

        • It would make me happy if the Pebble watch I received in December was going to have the warranty that I paid for. Instead, I am left with a watch that will break and have no replacement, despite buying it new.

          I am not sure if this Vector company is in the same situation. It looks like they are, but they may have handled it better.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The summary, to me, reads as though Fitbit is the villain. It could just as easily been written something like this:

      Smartwatch maker Vector has gone bankrupt. Vector, as a brand, will die off, and while its watches will remain operational, you can kiss any hope for software updates and new hardware goodbye. Fitbit has purchased it and its employees will be joining the fitness wearables firm, who will be hard at work integrating Vector's hardware and software know-how into their new organization.

      All those employees will remain employed now, hooray! But positiveness doesn't sell ad impressions.

      And exactly where in TFA did you read that Vector had gone bankrupt? As an owner of a Fitbit Charge HR which currently suffers from the "Progress Bar of Death", I'd rather Fitbit take their damn cash and hire some QC people instead of trying to buy the competition. Or maybe stand behind their products after the warranty has expired when they send out an update that kills them.

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        They didn't read anywhere that Vector went bankrupt, you nitwit.

        "It could just as easily been written something like this

        Much like you didn't read their words.

      • by thomn8r ( 635504 )
        I'd rather Fitbit take their damn cash and hire some QC people instead of trying to buy the competition

        Or their piece of shit Aria scales, which use 1980's wireless technology

    • by Freischutz ( 4776131 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @01:19PM (#53642457)

      The summary, to me, reads as though Fitbit is the villain. It could just as easily been written something like this:

      Smartwatch maker Vector has gone bankrupt. Vector, as a brand, will die off, and while its watches will remain operational, you can kiss any hope for software updates and new hardware goodbye. Fitbit has purchased it and its employees will be joining the fitness wearables firm, who will be hard at work integrating Vector's hardware and software know-how into their new organization.

      All those employees will remain employed now, hooray! But positiveness doesn't sell ad impressions.

      A shitload of devices are now orphaned because some bean counter at Fitbit ran an Excel model and decided that stiffing all those customers was cost effective business decision. That makes Fitbit the villain in my book ... unless you can paint a big yellow smiley on the fact that those customers paid a significant amount of good money for those watches are now stuck with wrist mounted brick. One thing is for sure, this has permanently cured me of any desire to buy a FitBit product.

      • by plover ( 150551 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @01:34PM (#53642559) Homepage Journal

        It's not Fitbit's fault; it's the entire business model of the Cloud. Sell some cool tech thing that's cloud-dependent, run low on cash because those servers aren't paying for themselves, get bought by a bigger company. Fitbit just knows how to play the game, for now.

        Who's really to blame when you buy a cloud-dependent toy, with no service contract to guarantee cloud availability for the next 25 years? What other outcome were you possibly expecting to happen? The only rational question is, "how long will I get to play with my cool toy until the company pulls the servers down?" And you should factor that limited lifespan estimate into your purchase price.

        • by baerd ( 1290146 )

          It's not Fitbit's fault; it's the entire business model of the Cloud.

          Vector chose to sell. Why did they do that? Why is this not Vector's fault for selling out, cashing in, and thus depriving their customers of support?

          • by plover ( 150551 )

            It's not their "fault" because they were under no contractual obligation to provide support. Why should they continue to make their expensive resources available for free, when they're not making them any money? Especially when they're running out of money and a sugar daddy like Fitbit shows up with a wad of cash.

            This is textbook capitalism. Nobody sells you stuff in order to make you happy; they sell stuff in order to make money. Never, ever forget that.

      • Or...a shit load of devices are now orphaned because the company that made them went bust. Thats all that needs to be said - Fitbit has no obligation to support a device it never made, its not at fault here.

      • To play devil's advocate here, what if the alternative was simply allowing Vector to go bankrupt and fold? Then all the employees would be out of work and the end result for Vector customers would be the same: no more support for their products. Why should Fitbit be expected to pick up this expense?

        The real lesson you should be learning here is to not buy a product which absolutely depends on continual support from the manufacturer, unless you're reasonably sure that manufacturer is going to be around for

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Dude, you understood exactly nothing. Vector was not doing bad and going to fold. It was going good and attracted Fitbit's eyes. And they got bought by them.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The summary is cherry picked. Notice how it ends right before the third paragraph in the article which states:

      It's the second low-power watch brand that Fitbit has purchased in recent months after rescuing Pebble at the end of 2016. The fact that Vector drew, uh, inspiration from Pebble means that the two teams will have plenty of common ground.

      The article itself notes that Pebble was rescued by Fitbit and that the Vector team will be a good match with the Pebble team since the Vector is a rip-off of the Pebble.

      If anyone is the villain, it would be Pebble and Vector for mismanaging their companies.

    • Hahaha you think newly made redundant employees will survive a merger.

    • But positiveness doesn't sell ad impressions

      But put your version on facebook and spread it as "fake" news. See if they believe it.

  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @12:51PM (#53642253)

    Its not as if Fitbit support their own devices very well - just look at the litany of posts on their forums and social complaining about device battery life even within the first months of use.

    My wife and I bought Fitbit Charges in 2014 - two weeks later mine stopped syncing (another extremely common complaint) and had to be replaced, while my wifes lasted a month before her battery life fell to 40 minutes from a full charge and had to be replaced. My replacement lasted a month this time before it stopped syncing, and my wifes stopped syncing at 6 weeks. I returned mine for a full refund, but the wife wanted to soldier on - her third one was returned after 3 weeks due to battery life issues.

    Fast forward a bit, and my wife decides to try a Fitbit Alta - worked for 4 months before it refused to sync. Oh, and while the box said "Windows Phone supported", support for WP wasnt actually included in the Fitbit app until 6 months after the product was launched (no, we don't use Windows Phone, its just another excellent example of how shit Fitbit is).

    I won't touch another Fitbit for as long as they are in business.

  • First I supported the last Pebble Kickstarter for a smartwacht, only to be told that (parts of) Pebble were bought by FitBit and my pledge refunded.
    Ok, I thougth, let's buy something else. Like the Vector Luna. Now FitBit bought Vector and thus damned my smartwatch to a slow, agonizing death. How long will the servers run that the app ontacts to download watchfaces, streams and apps?

    • Well shit. I've actually been looking for a Pebble replacement and this looks very nice. Figures that I'd find out in an announcement that they're also being killed by Fitbit. Better battery life too, damn

      Anyone else know of a good alternative that ISN'T owned by Shitbit?

    • This is sad.. the Vectors are the first smart watch that looks decent enough to buy.
      • Well, there is the Omate Roma, which I had on pre-order. But Omate f***ed up and forgot my order, and when I asked they had no more Romas in stock and had to refund my money.

        Thinking about it, this seems to be a running thread with me and smartwatched. GuessI should just stop thinking about smartwatches at all. Seems that for me this can only end in tears...

  • by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @12:57PM (#53642303)

    integrating Vector's hardware and software know-how into its own organization

    Yeah right... it's like Oracle buying MySQL or Gillette buying all other razor blade makers. All that "know-how" employees will be let go, designs put into the round file, etc. The only thing they'll keep will be patents, ie, monopoly rights. It's all about removing competition.

  • All I ever seem to hear is nuisances with those things. Reliability problems, abandonware, these takeovers for consolidating market share, insane money spent (on Apple ones) for crap battery/performance.

    Has it really been worth it?

  • Fitbit Buys Vector, Romanian Startup's Existing Smartwatches Won't Receive Software Updates Anymore

    Had to read twice, as brain saw this going by:

    "Fitbit Buys Vector, Romulan Starship's Existing Smartwatches Won't Receive Software Updates Anymore"

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