While smartwatch platforms have typically been limited to what the big manufacturers provide, the first open-source aftermarket operating system for smartwatches is now here. AsteroidOS, which has been developed by a computer scientist from France, is now available in the form of a stable roll-out for select WearOS-powered smartwatches. It will, of course, need you to replace the firmware entirely, and the smartwatch will function quite differently from when it was on WearOS as a result.
The stable release for AsteroidOS currently supports the Asus Zenwatch, Zenwatch 2 and Zenwatch 3, LG G Watch, LG G Watch Urbane, LG G Watch R and Sony Smartwatch 3. According to a report by Wareable, some of these smartwatches didn’t receive updates to Android Wear 2.0 last year, and are still running on an old version of Google’s smartwatch platform. The switch to AsteroidOS might breath new life into these devices.
For the time being, AsteroidOS is fairly simple, providing various basic smartwatch functions such as notifications, alarms, weather reports and more. The SDK for developers is also already available, allowing easier development of apps specifically for the platform. However, there’s no firm word on support, and such a system would naturally need the support of a strong community to succeed. AsteroidOS seems to be going the Cyanogen way when it comes to approach.
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The question here is whether such an approach would succeed for smartwatches. WearOS has fallen behind other incumbents thanks to dated hardware and often buggy performance on its devices, and the Apple Watch and Samsung Gear series have taken a lead. Even fitness trackers tend to be more popular than WearOS devices. Nonetheless, if you have an old Android Wear device that’s part of the list, it might be worth porting onto AsteroidOS to give it a fresh look and hopefully, improved performance as well.