I apologize for the headline. I had to do it. For years, devotees have been talking about how this year will be the year of Linux on the desktop. But for true believers, I think we’ve moved past that in some ways – now it’s all about mobile and wearable computing. There’s this $25 PineTime watch: what are we talking about?

What is a PineTime?

PineTime is a $25 smart watch for hobbyists running a FreeRTOS or ARM Mbed OS, designed to be a Linux phone companion. People are also expressing interest in making it compatible with Android, and porting ZephyrOS to it.

PineTime has a full touch screen, 10 days of battery life, and an IPS display for visibility in sunlight. More information will be available in October, but if you want to tinker with wearables and you already know a little about the SWD debugger and FreeRTOS, this could be for you.

Should you get one?

Almost certainly, no. If you are an open source advocate, by all means, get one. If you are also getting the $150 PinePhone Linux Smartphone, go right ahead. But expect these things to be for hobbyists and tinkerers, and that you may need to be patient with bugs, and willing to compile things from source, or flash the whole OS at some point. We have yet to see a mobile offering based on Linux that really goes anywhere outside of Android.

Firefox phone didn’t do it. UbuntuPhone didn’t get there. Maybe this one should? Pedagogically, if you want to learn and experiment, open source makes a lot of sense, even if things don’t necessarily become stable projects for years, if ever. Personally, there are videos of the PinePhone running LunaOS (which is what’s become of WebOS for phones.) For this reason alone, I’m tempted.

If you want a $25 PineWatch or PinePhone, feel free to go to Pine64.org to learn more.

One thought on “2020, the year of Linux on the smartwatch”
  1. knapsack.news called the year 2020, the year of Linux on the
    smartwatch. Shown is a picture of the PineTime. PineTime is not a
    Linux smartwatch. Pine64 has nothing to offer to people who are
    searching for a Linux smartwatch. The year 2020 could be the year of
    the Linux smartwatches, but It is not. There are smartwatches
    available which are affordable and can run Linux AsteroidOS. But
    there is no solution available from Pine64.

    After a long search for a Linux smartwatch, I found the Kingwear KW88 Pro. Here is a
    manual how to install AsteroidOS on the Kingwear KW88 Pro:

    https://chandlerswift.com/2020/07/12/asteroidos-on-kw88-pro.html

    I gathered all the information together which I could find for the Kingwear KW88 Pro
    Linux smartwatch here:

    https://forum.xda-developers.com/smartwatch/other-smartwatches/kw88-pro-asteroidos-linux-distribution-t4171413/post83624245#post83624245

    Unfortunately, there is no real community to use the Kingwear KW88 Pro as a Linux
    smartwatch running AsteroidOS either. I miss an affordable Linux
    smartwatch from Pine64, and I miss a community of Linux smartwatch
    users in the Pine64 forum using a Pine64 Linux smartwatch.

    Chandler Swift, Cloud Engineer and developer of the instruction ?Installing
    AsteroidOS on the Kingwear KW88 Pro? is an excellent software
    engineer, and did a great job with his instruction.

    Still AsteroidOS is only version 1.0 and remains a shadow of Linux. But I think as a user
    interface for instance for a Linux sports watch (aren?t Garmin
    watches not also Linux watches?) it is sufficient. But from the
    processor and the RAM point of you, a device like the Kingwear KW88
    Pro could do much more.

    Could a device like the Kingwear KW88 Pro not become an excellent wearable Linux device
    with Linux AsteroidOS or even Ubuntu Touch, if it finds it?s
    followers in communities like the Pine64 community or the Ubuntu
    Touch community?

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