Feeds

IBM boffins put Linux on very large wrist watch

But what's it for?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

IBM has announced that it's put Linux onto a "smart watch" in order to demonstrate that the OS can scale down to small devices. But it's only a research demo, and not intended as a product.

Which from the sound of it is maybe just as well. It's a fat watch, for starters. It's 56mm x 48mm x 12.25mm, which from where we're sitting sounds more like what you get when you cross a wristwatch with a pack of cigarettes. And the hardware spec doesn't exactly sound like it's a triumph of downward scaling - it has eight megs of flash, eight megs of DRAM and "contains a powerful processor", type unspecified.

At some point in the future that might be the sort of hardware that's commercially viable in a smart watch, but today it's more of a communicator-level spec, and it hasn't shrunk Linux markedly further than we knew it could shrink already.

Inside it has RF and IR communication with PCs and mobile phones, calendar, address book and to-do list functions, and a measure of email. It can view condensed messages and receive pager-like ones. Obviously if anybody ever went commercial with a device like this it would need the comms to be a bit more convincing; it could have a mobile phone or similar inside, or given the strong likelihood of some useful Bluetooth products actually having shipped by the time this happens, it could simply have a Bluetooth link to the mobile in your pocket, and get the email from there.

Ah yes, but at that point you spot another reason why this is IBM researchers playing in the sandbox, rather than a product. If you've got a mobile phone in your pocket with a larger display, why do you want to read your email on your watch? And if you haven't got a mobile in your pocket, don't you want to be able to use your watch as one? Back to the drawing board... where IBM's boffins are planning version 2 with a high res screen and Web access. But we bet it's still not a product. ®

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?
Google's app permissions far too lax – security firm survey
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
OpenWRT gets native IPv6 slurping in major refresh
Also faster init and a new packages system
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.