Vendor News

Fitbit Confirms Pebble Acquisition

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Fitbit confirms last week's rumours as it announces the acquisition of former Kickstarter darling Pebble. The deal does not include Pebble products, meaning the company's smartwatch story is officially dead.

Pebble watch Financial details are not available, but the grapevine put the price paid for Pebble to around $40 million, a fraction of its previous estimated worth. After all, in 2015 Citizen offered $740m for the company! As for why Fitbit acquired Pebble, the announcement press release cites an interest in "key personnel" and the software powering Pebble devices, a sentiment echoed by a post on the official Pebble blog.

“With basic wearables getting smarter and smartwatches adding health and fitness capabilities, we see an opportunity to build on our strengths and extend our leadership position in the wearables category,” Fitbit adds. “With this acquisition, we’re well positioned to accelerate the expansion of our platform and ecosystem to make Fitbit a vital part of daily life for a wider set of consumers, as well as build the tools healthcare providers, insurers and employers need to more meaningfully integrate wearable technology into preventative and chronic care.”

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Apple Moves London HQ to Battersea Power Station

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Apple takes over a famed "cathedral of power" as it announces plans to move 1400 staff from 8 locations in London to the restored Battersea power station, making it one of the biggest Apple sites outside of the US.

Battersea power stationThe iPhone maker will occupy all top 6 office floors in the Grade II listed building, which has stood derilict for 33 years on the bank of the Thames. The actual move to the building should take place in 2021, and makes Apple the biggest single tenant in the 42-acre complex comprising homes, offices, shops and leisure facilities.

“This is a great opportunity to have our entire team working and collaborating in one location while supporting the renovation of a neighborhood rich with history,” an Apple statement to the Evening Standard reads.

Apple's European HQ will remain in Cork, Ireland, where it employs around 6000 people. The company has 2530 staff in the British capital, 1100 of which work in its retail operations. Its biggest London office is in Hanover Street, Mayfair, near the flagship Regent Street store.

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BlackBerry Gives Up on Phone Development

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Ailing phone maker BlackBerry announces plans to stop, well, making phones-- instead such a task will be farmed out to hardware partners, as the company wants to focus on software and security products.

BlackberrysAs a result, future BlackBerry handsets will be like the recent DTEK 50, a BlackBerry-branded clone of the Alcatel Idol 4. It also makes the Priv, the first Android-powered BlackBerry launched back in November 2015, the last smartphone produced by the company.

"The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners," CEO John Chen says. "This allows us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital.”

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Huawei to Build Nexus 7 Tablet Successor?

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Nexus 7Leaker Evan Blass takes to Twitter to claim Google is working with Huawei on a 7-inch tablet-- a successor to the 2013's Nexus 7 featuring 4GB of RAM (there's only so much one can leak in 140 characters, after all).

Further details on the tablet are surprisingly scarce. Back in April Huawei reportedly got the trademark to the name "Huawei 7P," marking a possible clue to a device akin to the Nexus 6P, another Google device built by Huawei. Even earlier, in December 2015, Tech Times claimed Google was to launch a new Nexus 7 in May 2016 featuring "flagship specifications" and "drawing inspiration from the Pixel C tablet."

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Microsoft and Lenovo Deepen Relationship

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Lenovo smartphoneMicrosoft announces a "deepening of strategic relationships" with Lenovo in a deal having Lenovo preload Microsoft apps on select devices, as well as a "patent cross-licensing agreement."

The Microsoft apps in question are of the productivity variety, such as Office, OneDrive and Skype. They will be found in premium Android-powered Lenovo smartphones and tablets.

“Our collaboration with Microsoft will create new opportunities for our customers to take advantage of some of Microsoft’s most popular apps,” Lenovo says. “Installing Microsoft apps and services on our devices will bring additional value to consumers around the globe.”

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