Jawbone Is Dead. Almost.

device-jawbone-up-_0One of the better-known brands in consumer technology is about to stop existing the way we know it. Jawbone was one of the pioneers in wearable technology and garnered a lot of positive attention for its stylish Bluetooth earpieces.

Its Bluetooth speakers were also received positively, making it one of the biggest sellers of Bluetooth speakers in the country around 2011. Unfortunately for the company, though, its foray into fitness trackers was nothing short of disastrous. A series of missteps meant that it could never capture the imagination of the public like Fitbit did.

A report from Tech Insider now states that the company has sold its entire inventory to a third party distributor and is looking to retire the ‘UP’ brand. Jawbone’s UP line included good looking fitness trackers with an excellent mobile app to go alongside. In fact, it was the software side of things that made most reviewers recommend buying the fitness trackers. It pioneered things like smart reminders and real world goal settings to help improve the health of its user and not just act like a step counter.

The hardware that the company put out though was often substandard. It’s sensors malfunctioned and the company had to offer refunds to its customers to try and rectify the mistake. Further versions were also delayed because of waterproofing issues.

Other reports around the internet also mentioned that the company is trying to sell off its music business completely. The Bluetooth speaker business is extremely cutthroat and companies are often undercut by competitors working on razor thin margins. Jawbone has not released a new Bluetooth speaker in almost three years now and it does not look likely that the company will end up ever releasing a new one now.

Earlier efforts to license the Jawbone brand to other manufacturers had also failed.

It is also unclear if the company wants to completely exit the wearable space or just start afresh. Apparently the company has been readying a fitness tracker with extremely accurate ‘clinical grade’ sensors. These trackers may be targeted to medical professionals and their patients rather to the consumer space, although there is no confirmation to that end.

Jawbone launched as Aliph way back in 1999 and was the darling of venture capitalists who saw real value in its brand. The company has raised an estimated $1 Billion over its lifetime, with the last round of funding this year in January.

That is a lot of money to have burned through with not much to show for it. It is unfortunate but it looks like we may have seen the end of Jawbone.

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