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3G-ready smartwatch runs on Linux

Aug 28, 2017 — by Eric Brown 4,521 views

[Updated: Sep. 9] — The Connect Watch offers a 4-day battery, a 2MP, 720p camera, plus WiFi, BT, and optional 3G, and runs the open source AsteroidOS on a quad -A7 SoC.

Smartwatches have so far failed to stake a claim as the next big post-smartphone consumer companion, but that won’t stop new wrist-born contenders from showing their stuff. A French startup called Connect Watch has just unveiled a smartwatch of the same name that will run on the open source, Linux-based AsteroidOS wearables platform.

Connect Watch weather and health monitoring functions
(click images to enlarge)

Updated: Sep. 9: LinuxGizmos reader “kg” has identified the OEM source of the watch as the $90 and up, Android Wear-based KingWear KW88 3G Smartwatch Phone. The KW88 received a favorable preview late last year.

The 1.39-inch Connect Watch, which is available for pre-order at crowdfunding site Ulule, runs AsteroidOS on a quad-core, 1.39GHz “MTK” processor, which as we now know is the KW88’s power-sipping MediaTek MTK6580. The quad-core, Cortex-A7 SoC is clocked to 1.3GHz and accompanied by a Mali-400 GPU. The SoC also includes built in support for WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and a 13-megapixel camera. The MTK6580 is commonly found on low-cost 3G smartphones sold to China, many of them available at the same GearBest site that sells the KingWear KW88.

Connect Watch (left) compared to KingWear KW88
(click images to enlarge)

The specs appear to match up perfectly. The Connect Watch ships with either 512MB or 1GB RAM with either 4GB or 8GB storage. WiFi is standard, along with Bluetooth and GPS, and there’s a nano-SIM slot for optional 3G cellular communications: GSM (850/900/1800 / 1900MHz) and WCDMA (850/2100MHz). A 2-megapixel, 720p camera is also available.


AsteroidOS was created by French developer Florent Revest as a CyanogenMod like after-market replacement OS for Android Wear devices. The distribution provides the Connect Watch with functions including an alarm, telephone, a planner, health monitoring, weather, calendar, calculator, music, and photos.

AndroidPolice, which alerted us to the ConnectWatch, first reported on AsteroidOS last December. Based on OpenEmbedded, Qt. 5.9, and QML, AsteroidOS enables porting to “most” Android and Android Wear watches using libhybris.

AsteroidOS user interface samples
(click images to enlarge)

Connect Watch suggests that developers will be able to share AsteroidOS apps while users can tap the OS to personalize their watches. AsteroidOS is designed to secure personal data, maintain user privacy, and “keep you in control of your applications.”

Samsung readies Gear 4 and Google releases Android Wear 2.0 guidelines

The most successful non-Android Linux contender in the smartwatch market has been the Tizen-based Samsung Gear line of watches. Next week at the IFA show in Berlin, Samsung will reveal its Gear S4 watch, which is rumored to offer the new Bixby voice agent that Samsung recently deployed in the Galaxy S8 phone.

The Apple Watch has been the clear market leader, but it has yet to make a major iPhone or iPad style impact. The Apple Watch Series 3 is due later this year, however, and we’ll also likely see some new entries among the Android Wear watches. Google recently launched a set of Android Wear 2.0 design guidelines to attract new developers.

Further information

The Connect Watch is now available on crowdfunding site Ulule, selling for 99 Euros ($119) for the WiFi-only version and 129 Euros ($155) for the 3G version. Shipments are due in late October. More information can be found on the Connect Watch website.

The Connect Watch’s campaign appears to make no mention of the its device’s KingWear foundation. There’s nothing wrong with using third-party hardware, but one would expect greater transparency from an open source project.

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2 responses to “3G-ready smartwatch runs on Linux”

  1. xABBAAA says:

    Looks great…….

  2. kg says:

    Wait! I have seen that somewhere… Let’s talk about Kingwear products, i.e.: KINGWEAR KW88

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