Open-Source AsteroidOS Launches As Wear OS Alternative

AsteroidOS 1.0 Release May 2018

AsteroidOS is an open-source alternative to Google’s Wear OS that’s been in development for quite some time, and now owners of compatible smartwatches can finally compile the OS for themselves and give it a try. The official website has a detailed guide for how to compile and install the OS, and it’s already compatible with a range of popular modern and older smartwatches like the LG Watch Urbane and ASUS ZenWatch 2. At this stage, AsteroidOS is pretty basic, with only a few essential apps like a calculator and alarm clock on board. There are also a number of connectivity options, including multiple versions of Bluetooth in low-power mode. The real draw, however, is that the OS is completely opened up to developers, with an SDK already available and the whole project being entirely open-source.

AsteroidOS 1.0 includes support for Bluetooth hardware, some basic sensors, and a set of APIs meant to allow interfacing with the hardware of compatible smartwatches. For now, GPS, NFC, WLAN, SIM cards, and audio are all non-functional, but the basic-level APIs to access the hardware are there. This means that the OS can easily gain those futures in the near future if a developer decides to program them in. On the application side, the first iteration of the OS supports mirroring notifications from your phone, a basic alarm app, stopwatch app, weather app, calculator, and a remote controller for your phone’s currently playing music app.

The development doesn’t just represent a single, developer-friendly alternative to Android Wear. Rather, the open-source, Linux-based smartwatch OS could very well be the birth of a new ecosystem for compatible smartwatches. In much the same way that the GNU project and the Linux kernel formed the basis for Linux distributions that can be installed on desktop and laptop computers instead of or alongside Windows, AsteroidOS may well form the basis for a new breed of customizable, developer-friendly smartwatch operating systems, so long as the development community actually gets on board. Not only is the AsteroidOS project fully open-source and forkable, developers can even upstream particularly good pull requests, building its usefulness and functionality over time.