Remember the Linux wristwatch?

With all the hype about the iPad, and indeed, the hype about smaller and smaller mobile computing devices, I thought I would remind you all that there was at one point a Linux-powered wristwatch! This marvelous curiosity was discussed back in 2001, when it ran kernel version 2.2.1, had 8 megabytes of flash memory, and had IrDA (remember that?!). It even had a touchscreen display, and had a PIM suite that “consists of an organizer, WML browser, to-do list and a calculator” all in 51K of code!

The Linux watch was conceptualized at IBM’s T. J. Watson research center where various groups are continuously exploring the various challenges that arise in the area of user interface design, power management, input devices, wireless communication, sensors and models for co-existences for pervasive devices and wearables. The story goes, that among them, a team of researchers with skills in hardware design, Operating Systems, displays, electronic and mechanical packaging, industrial design and user interface design, that was spread across multiple research IBM sites, worked together to develop the wrist watch that would eventually run Linux and X11. The team, led by Chandra Narayanaswami, worked relentlessly for about 18 months to accomplish this feat.

Is it useful? Hardly! Is it cool? Oh yes!

Read the whole IBM’s Linux Wristwatch blast from the past at