With the official launch of the open-source Wear OS replacement AsteroidOS in May, a guide for installing the smartwatch replacement OS has cropped up on its official website. Getting through the process is relatively straightforward but does include some risk for those who aren’t already knowledgeable about flashing firmware. The OS itself is also pretty basic in its current form and only includes simple functionalities such as a calculator and alarm clock, as well as Bluetooth connectivity. However, as with any software built on Linux, it does have the advantage of being open-sourced and forkable. That means that it will almost certainly improve by leaps and bounds over time as developers branch out to add new features. In the meantime, tech-savvy owners of Wear OS devices and developers will probably want to get started trying it out as soon as possible.
Installing AsteroidOS is designed to be just about as painless as is possible when flashing new firmware. There’s even a dual-boot option for those who want to try it out without committing, though there are caveats to that. The first step, of course, is to download the AsteroidOS files. The current version is AsteroidOS 1.0 and, for simplicity, those are kept in the downloads folder after being downloaded. From there, the steps diverge depending on whether a user is on Linux or Windows. In Linux, users will need to open the terminal and install Android Debug Bridge (ADB) & Fastboot via command input. Windows users will need to download the files from the appropriate page for their own smartwatch guide – accessible via the second button below. Those will need to be unzipped to any chosen folder and the user will need to navigate to that folder before right-clicking in that window while holding shift and selecting Open PowerShell. That will be used later on for the installation itself. Then the smartwatch needs to be prepared by enabling ADB Debugging in the hidden Developer options on the watch itself, which are made available by clicking the build number in settings seven times. Following that, users need to unlock the bootloader by inputting the appropriate commands in the terminal. Those are “adb reboot bootloader,” followed by “fastboot oem unlock” and users will need to follow on-watch instructions to complete the process.
From there, the instructions are going to vary from device to device and will vary depending on whether Windows or Linux is used. Further commands will install AsteroidOS either permanently or as a dual boot and the process shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to complete. It bears mention that there are a few limitations to AsteroidOS, which anybody interested needs to be aware of. First, AsteroidOS is not supported on every Wear OS device and won’t work at all on smartwatches that aren’t running Wear OS, don’t have pinouts, or which were built on Mediatek SoCs. The OS also doesn’t currently run on devices that were built around Samsung’s Tizen. Support for non-Wear OS devices and Tizen could arrive at some point in the future but for now isn’t possible. A full list of supported and unsupported devices can be found via the first button below. Support for various functions, such as touch, audio, sensors, and haptic feedback also varies from smartwatch to smartwatch, so anybody using AsteroidOS is doing so at their own risk. Finally, dual-booting the OS will default to Wear OS on startup. So users will need to repeat the steps for entering fastboot mode every time they start the device up if they want to switch to AsteroidOS.