Rebble is an inspiring repair story, and the way Pebble enabled this second life is a path that every gadget manufacturer should strive to emulate. Pebble created an open (and open-source) environment for developers and enthusiasts. As a direct result, Rebble is saving thousands of gadgets from the bin and building a real community around dogged longevity. Keeping Pebbles running, in the face of much fancier options, knitted the community together.
This should be a legal requirement. If a company wants to end the life of a cloud-connected product, they should be legally obliged to open up the code and tools necessary for third parties to keep the product alive.
Or even better, an “after-sales responsibilities” bill that goes beyond the paltry warranty. Cloud services should be kept operational for a reasonable time, patches should be sent out for a reasonable time, and repairs provided at a reasonable cost.
There are examples of car dealerships asking the value of the car for a DPF repair, and there are examples like HTC refusing to repair any device outside the warranty period, refusing to even give a quote to the customer.
With independents having a harder and harder time keeping up, it’s necessary. However, how is “reasonable time” and “reasonable cost” defined?
Great story. Reading it provoked me into resurrecting my Pebble Time Round. It’s testament to the original design, and the hard work of Rebble, that it’s still a surprisingly functional device.
Pondering its future, I could now replace it with a pretty cheap and similarly functional smartwatch, but even if I did it’s not clear I’d be getting anything extra I actually want. It is noticeable that the health and fitness sensors popular on more recent wrist-worn wearables are missing. These have become important for a lot of other people, but not me, so I’ll stick with it for now. I’m curious to know whether I’ll still find it useful.