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Citizen/IBM To Make A Linux Watch 279

backtick writes: " Yup, they're making the Watchpad. 'Besides telling time, the WatchPad comes with a calendar-scheduling application, a pager-like application for sending and receiving short messages, and a Bluetooth chip for wireless communication with notebooks, handheld computers and cell phones'" If they'll make a watch that runs Linux and takes pictures like Casio's camera watch, I might just switch back to a digital. Gerdts points out that the watch's battery life is either up to six hours, or only six hours, depending on how you look at it.
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Citizen/IBM To Make A Linux Watch

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    • Linux and Watchpad represents a paradigm shift. The classic example of a paradigm shift is the Quartz watch. Although it was originally developed in Switzerland, the Swiss watch makers originally wanted nothing to do with it because it didn't have the gears and mainsprings that had become the pride of the Swiss Watch factories.

      Eventually, the inventors went to Japan and approached Seiko. The Swiss have now gone from 60% of the market to less than 30% and the classical mechanical watches represent status symbols rather than timepieces. I recently heard a speaker declare that he had a $5000 Swiss watch that couldn't tell time. He then went on to say that he had to put on his cheap watch so that he would know what time it was. He didn't mention the brand name, but one can guess who makes $5,000 Swiss watches.

      Some people buy $5,000 Rolex Watches to impress people, I wear a Citizen myself. It keeps pretty good time.
    • It's now:

      GNU/Citizen and GNU/IBM to make a GNU/Linux GNU/Watch

  • by jsin ( 141879 )
    Now you can look like the dork you were with the calculator watch in sixth grade... woo hoo!
  • - How long until someone roots your wrist?

    - Does it have a picture of Tux on the watchface?

    - Imagine a beowulf cluster of these.

    - [Insert "If MS made watches joke here]

    • - How long until someone roots your wrist?

      You should have used the DOD Linux version. Of course, the watchband is green then. Bastille Linux - maybe the Swiss Army Linux Watch will have that.

      - Does it have a picture of Tux on the watchface?

      Yes, which you would have seen if you had followed the main story link.

      - Imagine a beowulf cluster of these.

      Probably find one at Times Square - look for the guy with the raincoat.

      - [Insert "If MS made watches joke here]

      Then they would run backwards at times, you would have to pay more money each year for the same watch with the bug fixes, and sometimes it would just stop and you'd have to replace the battery to start it again.

      • by Russ Steffen ( 263 ) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @04:35PM (#2417145) Homepage
        Then they would run backwards at times, you would have to pay more money each year for the same watch with the bug fixes, and sometimes it would just stop and you'd have to replace the battery to start it again.

        Let's not forget:

        • You need extra licenses if you want someone besides yourself to read the watch.
        • Every time you look at the watch a little animated figure pops up and says "Hi. It looks like you're trying to read the time. How can I help?".
        • EULA prevents you from telling anyone else the time you read off the display. It also prevents you for using the time to disparage Microsoft or MSN.
        • The watch comes complete with T-1 speed wireless access from anywhere on the planet. However, it only allowed to be used for license compliance tracking.
        • The watch tells time in decimal and uses the Julian calander. Converting it to anything else violates the DMCA.

  • Baterylife = 6 Hours (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mrpull ( 112590 ) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @04:01PM (#2416954)
    If this device only has a battery life of 6 (or fewer hours) *I don't want it*. I expect my watch to continue telling time for serveral months without replacing the battery. I don't want another charger to clutter up my house either. (Let's see palm cradle, laptop cord & docking station, three cell phone chargers...Too many already).

    Hell, I sleep with my watch on. If it's on the charger, I can't tell time.

    Hmmmmm, maybe i'm just in a bad mood, but the geek factor doesn't overweigh the stupidity of this.

    • my timex ironman watch's battery lasted for 4 years untill it needed to be replaced.. and then one I have in it now is going on 3 years.
      • My citizen eco-drive watch has never and will never need a battery. It's solar-charged with a battery backup, charged off of artificial and natural light, and has a battery that can sustain the watch for several months without any light before needing rechanrged by some light exposure. No *that's* the technology that needs adapted to this linux watch. It takes me more than 6 hours to lose track of time so badly that I need to check my watch... :)

        The watch was a little pricy, but mine looks subtle while still being pretty nice. All brushed titanium construction, water resistent far deeper than I'll ever dive (considering that I don't dive), and that whole "never needs a battery" thing...

        I'd provide a link to citizen's web page, BTW, but it sucks *so* bad that I refuse to do so. It's straight flash, and for some reason wouldn't even take me to the english page. The watch still kicks ass, thoug.
    • 6 hours is REALLY not much, but what did you expect ?! it's a prototype. The article states: IBM has predicted all-day battery life will appear in a year or so. That still extremly short, compare a watch with a screen that small to a (for example) Compaq Ipaq. Those things run quite a while on one recharge. But it his a much larger colorscreen, has more memory and processing power (and it can also run Linux) but the watch is running 24/7 and a PDA about 1 hour on a single day. (just a guess) IF big blue starts to manufacture these watches, they should ahip at with a cradle for synch and ofcourse recharging. If they can get this thing to run for a couple of days that will be enough for my.
      • Many years ago, the SGI workstation we had had an analog clock program (complete with shadows, and everything). We used to joke that this was a $60,000 analog clock. This unit is one of those... It has 450 features, including a (default?) clock display.

        It's really just a PDA with a really small screen. I guess that I could run it with one of my external battery packs.... A 2 pound hip unit with the wire running up my sleeve, I should be able to get all-day power for the unit. Maybe I could even put together a waist level inductive charger and remove the need for a wire.

    • by Ledge ( 24267 )
      Someone should come up with an induction charging system for small devices like this. Set up a charging station next to your bed, your armchair, your desk, and in your car, and you should never have to remove the device from your body for charging purposes. There's probably a health risk involved in sitting in the middle of a magnetic field all the time, but how much worse than a monitor could it be?
    • I can't wait for:

      "To counter claims of their Linux wristwatch having only limited usefulness because of a 6 hour battery life, IBM today announced the shipping of a mains adapter for their wrist watch..."

      Then they can do an IR mobility kit so you can access your watch remotely using a "wrist mounted X11 server".

    • Why concentrate on what a poor watch it will be with only six hours of uptime? Try this:

      1. Remove strap.
      2. Attatch larger battery.
      3. Place in shirt pocket.

      Tiny is nice. Think of all the places you could fit it. Remote control by ssh? If this is really hackable it will be fun.

      More is better. Mass production will surely drive prices down later. More toys!

  • Interface (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mattcelt ( 454751 )
    It is only the interface that has always bothered me with smaller and smaller computers. Has there been significant progress into wearable screens like the cool one in the commercial with the day-trader kid?

    Once we have the interface down, things can be as small as we want.

  • It looks like a PDA with a wriststrap. Besides, something that big on my wrist would probably get annoying after a while.

    I'll stick to a PDA or pocket PC.
  • 6 hours and deja-vu (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shibut ( 208631 ) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @04:03PM (#2416967)
    First, what's the point of a watch whose battery life is measured in hours, as opposed to months? It's nice as a concept toy, I guess.

    Second, the fully loaded digital watch was all the rage back in the 80s (you kids may not remember that decade very clearly, so I'll let you know that those watches covered a substantial part of your wrist and then some and if you had the muscles to wear them for long you could probably get tennis arm...). It died out pretty quickly then, partly due to their weight, but also because it really isn't very convenient to handle lots of buttons or operations when 1 hand is incapacitated (the one the watch is on) and the other is busy activating the device....
    • ...if you had the muscles to wear them for long you could probably get tennis arm...

      Or, more to the point, if you had the muscles to wear them, you probably weren't the type of person to wear them...

    • > it isn't convenient to handle buttons when 1 hand is incapacitated (the one the watch is on)

      It worked ok for the Predator. I hope the next version of this watch also has the Predator's tactical-nuke self-destruct capability. Not that I'd use it... but you know, just to know it's there.

      • by The Larch ( 115962 ) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @05:19PM (#2417272)
        The Predator's watch probably didn't include a tactical nuke. If you look at the video evidence of the detonation of his device, you can clearly see a distortion across the field of view, very much like a gravitational lensing effect. It is more likely that the Predator's self-defense device was based on a technology able to create and manipulate extreme gravitational fields, in effect creating a tiny, temporary neutron star that sucked in surrounding matter, thus releasing a vast amount energy from the implosion. This was also a very efficient way of disposing of all physical evidence of his visit, and if it weren't for the incredibly brave camera crew that happened to be present and whom the Predator fortunately failed to notice, the very fact he was here would still be unknown to us to this date.

        To get back to the topic: while putting a tactical nuke inside a Linux-powered wristwatch is beyond IBM's current technical capability, it will certainly be possible in the hopefully not too distant future. One can only hope that the unfortunate events of 9/11 will not cause unconstitutional legislation to be passed that would keep these devices away from the reach of the common man, making it impossible for him to protect his home and family.

        Remember, when tactical nukes in wristwatches are outlawed, only Predator will have a tactical nuke in his wristwatch!

    • Hopefully, the watch will have no buttons in the final version and all functions will be controlled via wireless access.

      Well, maybe a password reset button on the watch would be good.

    • "First, what's the point of a watch whose battery life is measured in hours, as opposed to months? It's nice as a concept toy, I guess. "

      Presumably engineers smart enough to build this are smart enough to decouple the time-telling interface, including power supply subsystem, so that the Linux running computer part has a 6 hour limit with easily swappable batteries, or failing that quick charge times, while the watch part does have a year+ battery life.

      Remember, whenever you think something a bunch of IBM or similiar engineers are doing is absurd, it generally speaks more to your own understanding of the problem and solution rather than theirs. If they aren't yet doing it in this version, there is likely good reason, and they are probably planning on implementing it in a near future generation. Believe it or not, most IBM engineers aren't stupid. Seriously.


  • The battery life seems rather ridiculous. Who would want to wear a watch that can't make it through an entire day at work? Besides, sounds to gimicky and gadget packed to be useful for anyone who isn't an ubergeek.
  • Scheduling, ability to communicate with other devices-big plus

    Six hour battery life-big minus

    This watch has a big potential, as the technology matures and the battery life improves.
  • I might just switch back to a digital.

    Timothy doesn't use a digital watch? Why??

    I couldn't live w/o the handy countdown timer
    (for muting ads on radio and knowing when to turn it back up. In what I listen to the break for ads are always exactly 4 minutes long) or the stopwatch for benchmarking stuff.
    • i remember as a child, growing up, doing the same thing -- only then it was 3 minutes. Frickin capitalism.
    • by uberdood ( 154108 ) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @04:48PM (#2417184) Homepage
      i use analog.


      - thinner

      - lighter

      - looks more professional in my white collar job

      - can find north when the sun is shining

      - i like the ticking sound (it's a primitive instinctive thing harking back to my first nine months of life)

      - metal wrist bands fit much better and last longer (why are adult male plastic watch bands sized for kids? is an eight-inch wrist really that abnormal?)

      - like telling time in terms of neareast quarter hour compared to the 80s/90s to-the-minute. i'm older now, and enjoying the here and now more.

      when commercials come on, i mute. after a period of time passes, i unmute. if i miss a song, it's not a big deal. between cummulus and clear channel owning my town's RF, i'll be sure to hear the same songs all bloody day long. god to have an AOR radio station like back in college.
  • I'll keep my Rolex and enjoy a considerable amount of more female attention while you are showing your little toy off to all the other nerdboys.

    I imagine this will match your Linux t-shirt and Apple bumper sticker well.
  • Most people I've met can't even use most of the features on their 'sporty' new watch, such as the calendar, timer, or otherwise. What makes the creator of this watch thing people are going to be able to use Linux with it? "I just want to know what time it is, damn it! I don't want to compile anything!"
  • Cool Iinux devices.. (Score:2, Informative)

    by ldopa1 ( 465624 )
    Linux Devices [] has the prototype of this watch on their cool embedded linux devices [] list.

    You can check out the link here.. []

    **Karma Killing Whine Alert**

    BTW: I reported on this three days ago, and the article was rejected.

    **End of Karma Killing Whine Alert**
  • IBM states that the 6 hours are a product of optimizing the underlying OS. They also say that they target day-long battery life by further research.

    Perhaps one of those kinetic powersources in some of todays watches could further prolong battery life. I think slashdot carried a story about those while back, but a quick search didn't turn anything up.
  • To Do list (Score:5, Funny)

    by ellem ( 147712 ) <ellem52 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday October 11, 2001 @04:09PM (#2417002) Homepage Journal
    12:00 Charge watch
    18:00 Charge Watch
    24:00 Charge watch
    06:00 Charge watch

    • my parents have a grandfather clock that needs to be "recharged" ever 7 days or so by pulling down long weights inside the base of the clock...

      I find that TERRIBLY annoying. I could even imagine having to make sure that the damn thing was charged.

      (as a side note: I don't wear watches, I find no need for them, I hate them almost as much as I hate cell phones and their users)

      What good is a clock if it doesn't set itself automatically (ala over the net) and it needs to have new batteries (recharged) more often than every several years?

      I can't even remember what I had for dinner last night nevermind that I need to re-charge my clock every 6 hours or whatever...
    • Re:To Do list (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Benley ( 102665 )
      Yeah, that kinda sucks. They do say in the article, however, that all-day battery life should be available in a year or so.

      Here's what I'm wondering, though. Why does my wristwatch have to be so damn smart? This thing has bluetooth. In theory, so should my visor/palm/newton/pocketpc/agenda/whatever. Right? Why, then, can't my wristwatch just act as a wireless display/input device (using that nifty Bluetooth piconet!) for a slightly larger, more intelligent device that I keep in my pocket/purse/backpack/etc, which can have *much* longer battery life?

      I think that would be cool, and I think they could squeeze a bit more battery life out of the watch this way - it wouldn't need any CPU or RAM to speak of, just enough to talk Bluetooth to some other device.

      This post is fully buzzword compliant.
  • Battery Life (Score:5, Informative)

    by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @04:09PM (#2417004) Journal
    By tinkering with Linux, IBM has reduced the amount of memory required to run the OS. In turn, this has helped increase the battery life to six hours. IBM has predicted all-day battery life will appear in a year or so.

    I would hope so.

    That kind of battery life I would expect from another OS.

    Sadly, the IBM page link is ead:

    dead link -> ad.html

    But there is some info in this earlier Infoworld article []:

    The prototype wristwatch, thinner than most current calculator watches, features a 720 dpi VGA display that makes 6-point type (about half the size of typical newspaper type) legible to the user. This allows the screen to show about as much type as the larger screen of a Palm handheld. Because of the high resolution of the display, the text can be read easily by the wearer, Karidis said. The device would offer organizing and messaging functions and could be navigated by touch, with just four or five touch areas.

    "Your watch knows what time it is. It certainly should be able to tell you where your next appointment is," Karidis said.

    Using Bluetooth, the WatchPad can communicate with a PC. As a demonstration, Karidis used the touchscreen controls to move through his presentation, which ran on an IBM ThinkPad notebook computer.

    Researchers at IBM Japan have developed a prototype motherboard for the watch, about 1.25 inches across, with 8MB of DRAM. It runs a version of embedded Linux. The device could be commercialized within two years, Karidis said in an interview Wednesday.

    Nice technology!
    • But does 6 (!) hours make sense? Surely there must be a typo somewhere, since we know that a full laptop with the average OS and running applications all day can go around that long. And if this part is true

      By tinkering with Linux, IBM has reduced the amount of memory required to run the OS. In turn, this has helped increase the battery life to six hours. IBM has predicted all-day battery life will appear in a year or so.

      then how in the world?!?!
  • and e-mail, quake, GCC...

    But does it show the time ???
  • Hewlett-Packard is working on a similar effort with Swatch. In trials in Switzerland, wearers can pass through a train station turnstile while the watch charges their bank accounts for the cost of the ticket.

    Beats hell out of a barcode tattoo.

  • There was a story [] [] here a year ago about IBM doing this. But if you combine this thing with the Thermoelectric system [][] that was announced recently, you get a really nifty geek gizmo (probably retailing for more than the average geek wants to pay... at least for the first few years)

    Cheers to IBM for pusing forward! Here's to the next few years!

  • Six hours (Score:3, Funny)

    by r_j_prahad ( 309298 ) <> on Thursday October 11, 2001 @04:11PM (#2417017)
    Don't fret the short battery life, folks. Any self-respecting geek is just going to strap an APC power supply to his ass and snake cabling down his shirtsleeve to run this.
  • by StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @04:11PM (#2417018) Homepage
    when a "Kick Me" sign is just too subtle.
  • a pager-like application for sending and receiving short messages

    I can't believe they only have three buttons on the thing and expect text to be entered. I thought for sure they would have something like the timex watches that has a ring that can easily be rotated to make selections or set the time, using only just one hand. When everyone is born with a stylus instead of an index finger, we'll talk about that option of a touch screen on this tiny thing. Most of the (older)people I work with have an extremely hard time using a regular PDA, you can forget about these things ever being more than a prototype or neat toy.
  • The cons:
    • 6 Hour Battery Life - as has been mentioned before
    • Runs Linux - What is this doing on a watch? Seriously...?
    • It's huge. - It looks like you've strapped a Toshiba Libretto to your wrist. Plus it's greyscale.
    • The screen is tiny - Wow, let's telnet from my watch! My login name won't even fit on the screen!

    The pros:
    • Runs Linux. You can tell your dork friends how elite you are.

    So, um, who would buy this, seriously?

    - A.P.
  • New from Ronco!

    Tired of those long, tedious 8-hour days at work? Introducing the 6-hour watch! Leave work early!

  • Battery life (Score:2, Interesting)

    by qwerty823 ( 126234 )
    Maybe these guys can get with Applied Digital [] to make the watch powered by a body heat battery.
  • We are implementing the technology to equip and call Dick Tracy.
  • Citizen watches makes watches that recharge themselves and have something like a 4 year reserve and power saving features.

    The real issues will be what features can be supported in a device the size of (a presumably largish) wristwatch.

    This may be the PDA equivalent of the dancing bear. It's not that it dances well that's amazing. What's amazing is that it can dance at all.

  • Is it me, or is Linux everywhere these days?

    I imaging in a few years:"Just a second, I'm downloading new drivers for my Car" will be a common phrease, and mechanics are now reduced to recompiling the kernel.

    Linus then states that the brakes WILL be fixed in the next release.

    - Knut S.
  • Can you make one that's self-rewinding?
    • Can you make one that's self-rewinding?

      I can just picture the next time you go to a bar. You'll be able to tell all the Linux Geeks - they'll be the ones shaking their wrists all the time ...

  • Extend Battery Life (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tino_sup ( 460223 )
    I know that citizen watches use Eco-Drive technology...

    From ---

    Citizen Eco-Drive watches use the simplest, yet most technically advanced power generating and storage system in the Watch Manufacturing Industry. A Solar Cell and a rechargeable battery are the power provider for these Quartz Watches. Eco-Drive's ability to use light from any source to generate electrical power means that the supply is limitless and free. The absence of any added complex power generating machinery that would require additional upkeep is another big advantage. ---

    Including this type of technology might help to extend battery life. Recharge while in use during the day, drawing on the 6hr life at night.

    OR--- Some type of kinetic energy transfer. Will add to the bulk, but this is in Dev as it is.

    Just a thought---

  • Six hours of battery life? My current linux watch only gets 2! Of course it also weights 6 pounds, has MS office on the Windows partition, can play Counter-Strike, and is called a "Laptop" in all the supplied literature but still...

    Seriously though, I think this would be awesome if they could get the battery life up. If it was ~24 hours that'd be fine, I could recharge it every nite. But 6 is just inconveinent. Unless of course that 6 hours of DOING things, it can act as nothing more than a watch for maybe 48 hours straight. That'd be good.

    IDEA: Maybe we could get GPS built in and use that as an Etch-A-Sketch! I'd look weird walking around staring at my watch to see if I'd made a good smiley face yet though ;)

  • We were already down to 3! (Less if you used ELKS, I believe.) How much further did IBM take it?
  • 1. 6 hour battery life? Come on!!! A Palm will run for a month on a pair of AAA's. Even if battery is bumped up to 24 hours, still not real convenient. Hate to have to dock my watch everynight for a recharge. And what if I travel? Yet another thing to carry along to charge batteries (cell, laptop, shaver, watch, HOLY DC ADAPTERS BATMAN!)

    2. Privacy! Yes, it's damn convenient to have your watch act as your EZ-Pass when you go through a toll gate (either highway or public transportation), but the privacy types will be all up in arms over this (If 'they' can track you at Grand Central, they can track you ANYWHERE!!!).

    Just my $0.02 worth!
  • They had some demo watches out at a show here in NZ about six months ago. The dude who was a key guy in the development team also came (from Japan). Very cool. Especially the number of things he could do with it. hmm. sounds dodgy.

    Well, for instance, he was doing a slide presentation with it (remotely if i recall correctly).

    Anyhow, what struck me at the time was that it would be very cool to have a watch with a firewall :)
  • Hmmm, IBM predicts in about a year that they'll have battery life up to a whole day. A short battery life kinda ruins the point of a Calendar program, yes?

    Today: Okay watch, I gotta job interview tomorrow evening at 6:30 PM.

    Day-after-tomorrow: "Sorry I didn't come, sir. My watch battery went dead!" == Lamest excuse ever.

    Hopefully advances in mini-fuel cells and the like will be able to push battery life to at least a week, if not a month.

    Other things I wonder about

    What kind of input device does this use? I'm assuming that you would not be able to directly input data, but that this would work in tandem with a Palm, Visor, one of those PDA/Cell phone concoctions, or maybe a home/office computer.

    If that's true, then all the people with Palm, Visors, or PDA/Cell phones would just use those for most tasks. The only people who would buy these watches are those who have a computer at home but don't own another PDA.

    They COULD figure out a way to input data into the watch, but this probably means some sort of attachment to the watch (like one of those nifty foldable Palm Keyboards) but then why not just get a PDA in the first place?
  • AWESOME TOY. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Multiple Sanchez ( 16336 ) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @04:23PM (#2417091)
    Anyone who's not getting excited about this has no imagination. Don't think of it as a PDA -- think of it as the first fully programmable watch! How many of you have seen the Casio filmwatches [] with little animations on them? As an animator I've always wanted to be able to program my own. Add bluetooth to the equation -- a hobbyist's dream. And a 1 GB Microdrive []? ... It sounds wonderful.

    Yes it will be cumbersome to wear. But this is a step in the right direction for a toy that is long overdue in my opinion. Now it needs a motion sensor and digital camera...

    People looking for serious tools like PDAs should look elsewhere.... in the meantime, I'll be writing the code for an animated avatar who tells me the time, waves at me when I have an email, and gets jostled when I move my wrist quickly (to be implemented when that motion sensor gets included). Insert Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas song... here.

  • The wrist should be where the PalmOS goes to. Shrink the screen to 1/4 of what it is now keeping the same resolution with Icons etc. scaled up maybe 4x.

    Who needs a PocketPC when all the palm apps run on your wrist?

    160x160 square LCD would make a nice analog watch screen saver.
  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @04:28PM (#2417114)
    Like PDAs I doubt that the vast, vast majority of potential users give a damned what OS it runs. What they care about is:
    1. Form factor
    2. Battery life
    3. Usability
    4. Features
    5. Price
    6. Connectivity

    The OS it runs comes about 93rd between whether it plays the Star Spangled banner and it's ability to float in orange juice.

    Manufacturers who tout Linux as a PDA's main feature or expect the open source community to fix their crappy software may as well give up before they start. Geeks might care about such stuff but no one else does. Get the other stuff right and the fact it runs Linux is just icing on the cake.

    • Clearly this is not a watch for the "vast majority".

      -Paul Komarek
    • Why all these negative posts? Compared to a kick me sign in one, fuck off!

      This is a great new toy and the OS makes all the difference. It's tiny embeded controler with a nice screen and, hopefully, a hackable OS. If IBM uses GCC for it, it will be just awsome. Why would anyone want to develop for non free alternatives when they have something like that sitting around to exploit? Propriatory $DK goes in the garbage.
  • OK, there's good geeks... those are the ones who can fix their mom's computer over the phone in two easy steps, who can help their sister's fiance' shop for a new TV, who have their homes networked so they can watch their hacked TiVo in any room of the house...

    And then there's the bad geeks. The ones that give the rest of us a bad name. They don't bathe often enough, they wear thick glasses (when thin ones would do), they have pocket protectors, and they wear big honkin' Dick Tracy watches on their wrist.



  • by Anonymous Coward
    You wouldn't need to 'switch to digital'... as far as I know, one of the only applications they have on the watch is Xclock in analog mode.
  • ViaVoice (Score:5, Funny)

    by BubbaFett ( 47115 ) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @04:34PM (#2417141)
    If IBM has a hand in this, why not rig this thing up with ViaVoice? Imagine the possibilities!

    Me: KITT! Get me outta here!
    KITT: Yes Michael *wooh-wooh*.

    KITT Turbo-boosts into room and slides up beside me.

    Me: Thanks buddy.
  • Battery Life (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LS ( 57954 ) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @04:54PM (#2417200) Homepage
    Even two hours of batter life doesn't seem that bad to me. I'm not always looking at my watch or using an application on my Visor, so why should the Linux watch be on all the time? I would lift up my wrist and press the button, and it's on. It could be like a dual purpose flashlight switch, which can either be on only when it is pressed, or flipped on by sliding it.

    • Re:Battery Life (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MaggieL ( 10193 )
      Reminicent of the old LED watches that couldn't spare the power for a constant display either, It led (pun intentional) to a Saturday Night Live parody commmercial of a functionally-overloaded watch; a voiceover enuumerated all the modes the watch had while we see the watch on a wrist and a hand comes in to start working buttons...then another hand enters, then a third, a fourth, all furiously working buttons on the single watch. The commercial wraps with the slogan something like: "Robowatch: it's like asking a stranger for the time"
  • A smart watch has been a technological dream since the days when Dick Tracy battled Pruneface in the Great Depression

    Great. Now we have something to battle Ballmer with during the tech slump.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11, 2001 @05:29PM (#2417299)

    It seems unfair to have so many negitive posts about this. The ./ posting for the original IBM Linux wristwatch was full of fervent assertions that the poster would buy one like a shot if IBM could just be persuaded to turn it into a product.

    Well, now the guys at IBM have done there bit, possibly in part because of that ./ feedback, and they probably had to work hard to do so as it's not easy to get a product promoted from lab toy to product over at Big Blue.) So if you were one of posters who encouraged them by saying you'd buy one then maybe it's time to consider making good on your promise instead of whining about details of the design.

    Having said that - and in direct contravention of the previous sentence - I'm assuming that they'll have the battery life up to something usable by the time it ships. (Say 24 hours or better along with a fast-charge cradle)

  • by WyldOne ( 29955 ) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @05:38PM (#2417321) Homepage
    My top things:

    scientific calculator: (for figuring the tip)

    remote control (for TV and X10 modules)

    IrDa link to PC for Time syncing to Atomic Time

    List of important phone numbers/appointments

  • Nice but... (Score:4, Funny)

    by mini me ( 132455 ) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @05:44PM (#2417338)
    ...all I wanted was the time!

    Login: user

    Linux Watch 2.4.11.
    watch~$ date
    Thu Oct 11 17:40:32 EDT 2001
    watch~$ exit
  • Kinetic energy? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mckwant ( 65143 ) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @05:48PM (#2417350)
    Sorry, I don't have the physics/ee chops to seriously think about this, but couldn't you combine this watch with the kinetic battery seen in some watches, so maybe you can extend the life?

    Or am I missing something?
  • Just replace your battery every 6 hours and count the old ones in your pocket.
  • by morcheeba ( 260908 ) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @06:01PM (#2417382) Journal
    Matsucom has been making a similar watch -- the "onhand" [] for some time now. Technologically, the ibm watch does a whole lot more, but if all you want is the ability to run your own programs on your wrist, it'll do.

    Most important, the onhandpc has a free SDK []. The specs []: It has a 16-bit CPU (V20ish I think), running a dos look-alike. It has 128KB RAM, 512KB ROM, and 2MB FLASH. The display isn't nearly as nice as IBM's prototype OLED: 102x64 backlit STN LCD. But it does have IR and wired serial ports. The battery life is rated at 3 months (assuming display one hour per day). The big thing missing is the bluetooth. (Well, that and linux).

    The nice part: Price = $300. But still (in my opinion) a toy. For more info, here's a nice review [] (from late '99).
  • That watch looks like it was made by IBM. An RS/6000 is a nice looking box, but it makes an ugly wristwatch! I'd much rather that my watches were designed by Omega. []
  • Maybe I'm on crack or something but you'd think that IBM (or someone on /.) would have thought to build in a small offset gyro that would assist with recharging the actual battery similar to how those Timex watches (Perpetual motion-winding-doohickey) work.

    Would certainly help with the battery life eh?

  • You know.. this is something funny. I love digital.. I love computers, electronics.. all that.

    But one thing I really love is my watch. I only wish it was wind-up instead of electric.

    It's one of those Navy-Seals Luminox dive watches.. with the tritium gas-lights. Very tough, very robust.. glows in the dark for 25 years.. and it's analog.. jewels and everything.

  • by Dirtside ( 91468 ) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @10:45PM (#2418280) Journal
    Geez, what's next? The SaniPad, a Linux-powered tampon/personal organizer that monitors your menstrual blood flow and tells you when it's time for your next pill?

  • I always wanted a watch that reset itself to January 1, 1970.
  • by os2fan ( 254461 ) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:40AM (#2418678) Homepage
    They have OS/2 pace-makers. I imagine they run longer than "only" six hours.

  • dialogue (Score:3, Funny)

    by Catmando ( 14234 ) on Friday October 12, 2001 @02:31AM (#2418751)
    Chick: Hey hot stuff what time is it?
    ./'er: (shaking) uhh, the time is eleven o'kernel panic...
    (chick leaves)
  • This new IBM watch is very geeky, but too bloated and finally useless. Not only because you have to load it every 6 hours, but also because it looks very large for a watch.
    Nice and useful watches were the Timex Datalink series. They have a light sensor so that you can program them just by lifting them in the front of your monitor (data is transmitted through blinking lines) . And yes, it works on Linux with Watchlink [] .
    Program? Yes, Timex Datalink watches can be programmed in assembly language. There are a lot of applications for it, ranging from games to utilities to do golf scoring, as well as new watch features (better chronographs, multiple repetitive alarms, etc) . Of course you can also fully customize alarm melodies, and synchronize your appointements with Outlook or Ical.
    Plus these watches are cheap.
    Ehm... were cheap. Timex doesn't sell these good'ol 150 and 150s datalink watches any more. But some local vendors still have stock, so if you can get one, go, go, go!
    Not only this is a geek watch, but it's also an useful watch. And it looks like an ordinary watch on your wrist, not like a PDA.

  • This is ridiculous, every single post has been obsessed with the short battery life. First 'mobile' phone anyone? My first phone I had to recharge every day, my latest Sony phone can go a week between recharges. Hopefully fuel cell technology will mean more like a month between charging. Different technologies are developed on parallel paths, and the point of this watch was not to refine battery technology. This will be done by a different group. Just imagine what it will be like when the two are combined.

    • You seem pleased with the battery life of your Sony telephone - a 7x improvement in use over the originals that were new a couple of decades ago..

      I can't imagine being pleased with a watch that would last for 3.5 days between charges. I like to strap them onto my arm, and forget about them until I need to do something with it.

      Dealing with the battery every few years is bad enough for something as easily depended upon as a wristwatch, let alone having to do it twice weekly .

      ...Nevermind that we'd need to wait 20 years to get such impressive stamina out of the thing.

  • From the article:
    The display crams an array of 640 by 480 pixels into a watch face just 0.65 inches tall by 0.87 inches wide, said Chandra Narayanaswami, manager of the IBM Research Division's wearable computing program. The pixels are so small that sprinkling them judiciously gives the illusion of the ability to show a range of shades of gray, he said.

    Good lord - GIVE ME THAT DISPLAY! 640 pixels in less than an inch? It's a 736-DPI organic LED!

    Can you imagine a 24" display at that dot resolution? That'd be roughly 14,000 by 10,000 (using a 3:4 aspect) - or, roughly enough to see the famous 9k by 9k WTC satellite photo and still have plenty of space to code and surf.

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain