Linux clocks are nothing new. They exist before the Apple Watch

Clocks with Linux are nothing new.

The IBM Watchpad was one of the first smart watches.

Clocks with Linux are nothing new. In fact, they are something so old that the first and the third of The models of smart watches in history, they used it as an operating system. 

The news of the launch of the PineTime it is a good excuse to remember these first models. And, incidentally, disprove the belief of much of the general press that the computer industry was invented by Steve Jobs in six days. And the seventh rested. 

In 1998, Linux Journal reported the appearance of the first model. In addition to telling the time, served for videoconferences. The system required a transmitter that was hidden under clothing. The team could transmit images at the rate of 7 frames per second with a 24-bit color depth. The images could be viewed on its 640 × 480 pixel screen.  

The watch had two modes: 

  • A SECRET function that when selected, hides the videoconference window by turning off the transparency of the oclock, so that the clock looks like a normal clock (only the clock that fills the entire 640 × 480 pixel screen is displayed).  
  • The OPEN function cancels the SECRET function and reopens the video conference session. 

At the time of publication, it was reported that all software was available under the GNU GPL licenses

In 2000 IBM launched its Watchpad

This model had quite a few more features. It had a QVGA liquid crystal display cIts resolution was 320 × 240 pixels in black and white. The connectivity was done by Bluetooth, IrDA yRS232C and it came with a battery for life. As operating system was using Linux v2.4. According to the advertising of the time, not only It served as a personal assistant but also to control the PC. 

According to IBM institutional websites, the firm continued working on its watches until 2011, incorporating innovations such as a high resolution organic light emitting diode (OLED) display or the interaction capacity of the device and WebSphere software. In terms of connectivity, the watch became compatible with the IPv6 protocol. 

However, to have something like a clock with Linux, we consumers had to wait for them to appear the first Android models in 2014. 


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  1.   Leonardo Ramirez Castro said

    Do you know where you can get these old smart watches? I would like to have one, like the one in the photo.

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