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Pebble Time smartwatches are seen in this file photo.

Pebble Technology Corp., a smartwatch company that started before the introduction of the Apple Watch, said it will eliminate 25 per cent of its work force amid greater competition.

The staff cuts will affect 40 employees at the Redwood City, California-based startup, which gained attention for selling more than $20-million worth of watches on Kickstarter, but has been overshadowed by Apple Inc.'s device. A Pebble spokeswoman on Wednesday confirmed the cuts, but declined to comment further. The job cuts were reported earlier by Tech Insider. Pebble was founded in Waterloo, Ont.

The global market for wearable devices, including smartwatches and fitness trackers, more than doubled to 78.1 million units in 2015, according to researcher International Data Corp. But competition also has increased as Apple, Samsung Electronics Co., Xiaomi Corp. Under Armour Inc. and others introduced products to take on Fitbit Inc., the market leader in wearable fitness trackers by unit shipments.

Apple announced Monday it would lower the price of its least-expensive watch by $50 to $299. Pebble's watches are priced from $100 to $250, according to the company's website.