Apple Watch Series 5, $500, or Linux PineTime smartwatch, $25?

A new open-source smartwatch is in the works with a planned price of $25.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Apple, the dominant player in the smartwatch business, just launched the Series 5 Apple Watch with cellular for $499

The Apple Watch has some health features that make Apple CEO Tim Cook's "heart sing". But for the more budget-conscious who prefer Linux flavors there could soon be a $25 smartwatch called the PineTime

SEE: 20 quick tips to make Linux networking easier (free PDF)

PineTime is under development from the team behind the Pine64 Linux-based single-board computer, a rival to the computer that defines this category in computing, the Raspberry Pi. 

According to Pine64, the PineTime will cost about $25 and comes with a "nice" charging dock, a heart-rate monitor, and is made from zinc alloy and plastic. It also comes with a battery that lasts several days.

But the PineTime isn't quite a reality yet. Pine64 said it is still "waiting for some love from developers" and that for now it is a side project, similar to the Pine64 CUBE, an open-source IoT camera.    

Besides Apple, no Android smartphone maker besides perhaps Xiaomi has been able to carve out a dominant position in the smartwatch category. 

The cheapest decent smartwatches today can be found generally for about $40, so Pine64's promise of a smartwatch that looks similar to the Apple Watch for $25 does sound interesting. And it runs on Arm MBed or FreeTOS, a sure selling point for those who want to avoid the mainstream. 

The smartwatch announcement follows Pine64's plans to launch the PinePhone, a follow-up to its cheap Pinebook Pro laptops and its Raspberry Pi rival boards. 

Pine64 is taking limited pre-orders for the developer prototype of the Linux PinePhone this month and it is taking pre-orders for a subsequent 'brave heart' batch in October, with production scheduled for November 15. 

SEE: New Raspberry Pi laptop rival: $200 Linux-based Pinebook Pro available to pre-order

Given the smartwatch's low price, it's not surprising that Pine64 is utilizing commodity components.  

"Since there were questions regarding the body of the watch; yes, the watch body exists and is used by other manufacturers. We decide the internals + and customize the specs. Actual unit in picture below. Hope this clears things up," it said in a tweet

The project is also steering away from round watch faces for now because they make "development tricky". 

During development Pine64 is using Nordic Semiconductor nRF52832 Arm Cortex-M4 processor, though it may opt for a different platform in future. 

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