FitBit buys Vector Watch

FitBit Acquires Vector Watch

In March 2015, I was writing on my blog about the pre-order launch campaign launch of Vector — the smartwatch with Romanian DNA which promised customers 30-days battery life. One year later and just few days after CES, FitBit—the global wearable giant, announced Vector ‘s acquisition. The transaction price remains undisclosed.

According to Andrei Pitis, Vector CEO & founder, confirmed the news to TechCrunch and said Fitbit is acquiring the company for its “software platform and design team.”

“We believe this is an important milestone as a moment when we will start building other new and amazing products, features, and experiences, incorporating our unique technology and knowhow with Fitbit’s experience and global community,” the Vector team wrote on its website.

Customers in 25 countries will continue to enjoy the Vector Watch experience: a 30-day battery life smartwatch, with customisable watch-faces and dedicated streams. More details about what will happen in terms of customer support, you can read on Vector website.

FitBit’s strategic acquisition of Vector …

For Vector and for the Romanian startup community, Vector’s acquisition is definitely good news. However, there’s one good question one can ask. Why would FitBit buy Vector? Here are few things we do know:

  • Vector will neither add new software and hardware product features;  on the other hand, serial entrepreneur Pitis successfully built an awesome technology and design team which included Joe Santana—the former CEO of iconic watch brand Timex, Steve Jarvis—Design Director and former creative lead on projects such as Timex and Nike FuelBand, and Ron Spencer— Vector COO and former COO of Bulova, Fossil; last, but not least important, Romania is well-know for its leading developer community and tech talent available at very competitive costs by comparison with other Western markets; so, it is not surprising to read that …

“Our vision is to build a cutting-edge development center in Bucharest which will include product management, design, software development and research teams.” Andrei Pitis

  • FitBit also acquired smartwatch startup Peeble at the end of last year; sources say the purchase excluded Pebble’s hardware; the deal was all all about hiring the startup’s software engineers and testers, and getting intellectual property such as the Pebble watch’s operating system, watch apps, and cloud services;
  • In May 2016 Fitbit purchased Coin’s wearable-payments assets, with plans to develop a payment solution that could rival with Apple Pay;
  • Although Fitbit is the leading seller of wearables, but sales growth of the company’s line of fitness activity trackers stalled towards the end of 2016, dropping Fitbit’s share price value by 75%;
  • Smartwatches have enjoyed a lot of buzz in the past year and for sure launches from Apple, Samsung or Fossil contributed a lot; however, despite of consumers’ interest during 2016 the third quarter, smartwatch shipments plunged more than 51%, according to research firm IDC

Considering these three acquisitions FitBit definitely continues its roll-up of talent associated with watches, wearables and fitness devices.

The company only announced the launch of new products coming later this year. However, Fitbit hasn’t officially announced that it is creating a smartwatch. I do believe they will certainly come up with a very big surprise this year. Time will tell whether I’m right or wrong, but it only makes sense to me that with three different operating systems and such knowledge expert team in their courtyard, FitBit will try its best to create a wearable OS that can compete with Apple’s WatchOS and Google’s Android Wear.

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