Posts Tagged ‘watch’

Bluboo Xwatch Android Wear Smart Watch is Now Pre-selling for $99

January 13th, 2016 9 comments

Bluboo Xwatch is a smartwatch based on Mediatek MT2601 SoC that runs Android Wear. So far, we only knew the factory price would be around $80, but the watch has now showed up on several website such as GearBest and GeekBuying and is pre-selling for as low as $99.99 according to Bluboo, which would likely make it the cheapest Android Wear watch on the market today.

Bluboo_XwatchThe specifications have not changed much since the first announcement, but there are lots of differing specs across the sites:

  • SoC – Mediatek MT2601 dual core ARM Cortex A7 @ 1.2GHz with ARM Mali-400 MP GPU
  • System Memory –  512MB RAM
  • Storage – 4GB flash
  • Display – 1.3″ round muti-touch display with 360×360 resolution
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0, GPS
  • Sensors – Gyroscope, barometer, heart rate monitor, altimeter, compass
  • Battery – 400 to 480mAh polymer battery (80 hours standby time)
  • Dimensions – 5.4 x 4.5 x 1.3 cm (Geekbuying thickness, Bluboo still claims 9.8 mm thickness)
  • Weight – 60 grams
  • IP Rating – IP67

Cheap_Android_Wear_WatchBluboo_Xwatch_PriceThe specifications differ from sites to sites, especially when it comes to sensors, but at least the HRM should be there. While GeekBuying does not list GPS as a feature at all, GearBest confirmed to their customers Xwatch does have GPS in the FAQ. Battery life at 80 hours on standby will probably means 1 or 2 days on a charge for typical use, which is pretty poor, but usual for Android Wear smart watches.

The company also provided some pictures with the actual sample, and expect to launch the watch in February 2016.

Exact pricing is sort of mystery, while the company claims a $99.99 retail price, GearBest used to show a $99.00 price tag with free shipping, but is now only showing an arrival notice without price, while GeekBuying has listed the watch for $129.99 including shipping, and delivery scheduled for January 15, 2016. That date is clearly wrong, as even Bluboo don’t expect to launch the device before February.

You can find more pictures on Facebook, and the watch should soon be listed on Bluboo product page.

FOSDEM 2016 Schedule – Open Source Hardware and Software Event in Europe

January 13th, 2016 3 comments

FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting) is a 2-day event that usually takes place on the first week-end of February in Brussels, but this year it will be on January 30-31. The event brings thousands of developers, hackers, and other person interested in open source technology who present their projects and share ideas. FOSDEM 2016 schedule is now available, and There will be 557 speakers, 612 events, and 50 tracks this year including 7 main tracks: Distros, Enterprise, Hardware, Communications, Miscellaneous, Office, Systems Administration, and Virtualization.


So I’ve had a look at some of the talks, especially out of  “Embedded, Mobile and Automotive” and “IoT” devrooms, and prepared my own virtual schedule although I won’t be able to attend.


For many years MIPS processors have been involved in the embedded market, particularly in areas related to networks and storage. With the success of the mobile market, and the great evolution of the world linked to the “makers”, other architectures (such as ARM), they have reached very large levels of diffusion.

Meanwhile, the MIPS architecture has evolved, introducing innovations and improvements to adapt to both the processor market from performance, both to the world of micro-controllers. The future of MIPS is a new family divided into several generations evolving.

During the presentation, after a brief and simplified introduction to architecture, will be shown the technologies available at the time and what will be the future developments.

The presentation will also show some reference platforms (ex. Imagination Creator CI20), and how to work to integrate and port on these platforms. Application examples with Yocto and buildroot, to switch to a full distribution (Debian). Finally it will also present a perspective on the use of MIPS in embedded designs.

AsteroidOS is a free and open-source smartwatch platform based on OpenEmbedded, libhybris, BlueZ5 and Qt5. The OS currently offers a basic user experience on the LG G Watch. This technical talk will briefly introduce the philosophical background of the project and more deeply its architecture’s details in order to attract developers, porters and curious.

This talk will successively be focused on how to boot an Android Wear watch, on how to gain hardware acceleration on that kind of hardware, on how Qt5 and OpenEmbedded are used and on the future of AsteroidOS.

AsteroidOS uses similar technological choices as those of projects like SailfishOS, NemoMobile, Mer, WebOS-Ports or Ubuntu Touch but adapted to the needs of smartwatches. The architecture of those project will briefly be compared during the presentation.

Based on Migen, MiSoC is a library of cores and a system-on-chip integration system to build gateware for various applications. MiSoC is lightweight (runs on FPGA devices as small as Spartan-6 LX9 with 32-bit RISC CPU and SDRAM), portable (demonstrated on Xilinx, Altera and Lattice devices) and high performance (e.g. contains the fastest open source DDR3 solution we are aware of). Designing and integrating cores is facilitated by Python and Migen features. Current MiSoC applications include LTE base stations, video processing (Numato Opsis) and experiment control system (ARTIQ).

Nemo Mobile is a long time FOSS operating system. Created in 2012 as continuation to Meego Community Edition, it has been actively developed since then. The newest iteration of it is to use Glacier UI as its renewed User Interface, along with its Qt Components. These components are now used in the NemoTablet adaptation using Raspberry Pi2 as underlying hardware and its plethora of possible peripherals to create a true DIY tablet derived from SailPi project.

With Raspberry Pi 2 introduction in February 2015, it was then possible to create an adaptation for it. This enables the myriad of functionality it offers, with its hardware provided. Initial adaptation was done originally for SailfishOS, but Nemo Mobile had the first run and checking that everything worked, before a closed system was installed. Nemo Mobile, however, was then not tried until later. The idea came once the official touchscreen by Raspberry Pi Foundation was released, so that a FOSS tablet could be built by anyone and used. Raspberry Pi 2 has non-free hardware, but Nemo Mobile itself is FOSS completely. As with all other adaptations, the questions regarding hardware freedom limitations rise for a good reason.

Libreboot is a free software BIOS replacement (boot firmware), based on coreboot, for Intel, AMD and ARM based systems. Backed by the Free Software Foundation, the aim of the Libreboot project is to provide individuals and companies with an escape from proprietary firmware in their computing. Libreboot is also being reviewed for entry as an official component of the GNU system.

Boot firmware is the low-level software that runs when you turn your computer on, which initializes the hardware and starts a bootloader for your operating system. Libreboot currently supports laptops and servers, on x86 (Intel and AMD) and ARM (Rockchip RK3288), with more hardware support on the horizon. The purpose of this talk is to describe the history of the project, why it started, why it’s important, where it’s going and, most importantly, to tell people how they can get involved.

Francis also runs the Minifree (formerly Gluglug), a company that sells computers with libreboot and Trisquel GNU/Linux pre-installed.

No abstract, but it’s clear about Olimex’s Allwinner A64 A64-OlinuXino board to be used in the company’s open source hardware laptop.

A brief discussion about the stable release branch 4 of KiCad as well as goals for the next development cycle and beyond.

The WPANKit is a ptxdist based Open-Source 6LoWPAN Board Support Package (BSP). The main focus is to provide a software development kit for the linux-wpan project. The linux-wpan project aims to implement a 6LoWPAN inside the mainline Linux kernel.

This talk will present the WPANKit: An Open-Source Linux BSP to develop 6LoWPAN IoT applications. It contains support for various common platforms such Raspberry Pi’s and Beaglebones. Additional components like the openlabs 802.15.4 transceiver SPI transceiver or BTLE USB dongles gives you a getting started platform into the Linux 6LoWPAN world.

The WPANKit will directly build a current mainline 6LoWPAN kernel, which is the official bluetooth-next tree. This is important, because the mainline 6LoWPAN development is still much in development. Additional the WPANKit offers a large of userspace IoT software collection e.g. tshark for sniffing network traffic, libcoap, etc. On top of this BSP you can develop your IoT application, setting up a Border-Router or help at the current mainline 6LoWPAN Linux-kernel development.

Through the power of ptxdist you can easily add new own packages for cross-compiling. As well we accept patches to integrate new software into the official WPANKit repository, so we getting more and more new IoT capable software into the WPANKit which can be used by other ptxdist users.

An AdaCore intern has rewritten the CrazyFlie drone software, originally in C, into SPARK. In addition to fixing some bugs, this allowed to prove absence of runtime errors. Various techniques used to achieve that result will be presented, as well as a live demo of free fall detection.

This talk will take us through the available FOSS software stacks that are available for automotive. This last year has produced a lot of working software from fiber-optic networking drivers in the Linux kernel, complete In-Vehicle Infotainment stacks, to a newly released Qt Automotive. There has also been a change in available hardware to run this software on, new boards like the Minnowboard Max, Renesas’ Porter board, and even the Raspberry Pi 2. This talk will try and cover the entire software ecosystem and how it matches to hardware, how you can get involved today, and what the future holds.

Turris Omnia aims to bring to the market affordable, powerful and secure SOHO router which is completely open-source and open-hardware. As a operating system it uses our own fork of OpenWrt which has some additional features such as automatic security updates. This talk will cover few topics such as motivation for starting this project and developing of our own hardware and software.

FROSTED is an acronym for “FRee Operating System for Tiny Embedded Devices”. The goal of this project is to provide a free kernel for embedded systems based on ARM Cortex-M CPU family, which exposes a POSIX-compliant system call API. Even if it runs on small systems with no MMU and limited resources, Frosted has a VFS, UNIX command line tools and a HW abstraction layer which makes it easy to support new platforms and device drivers.

This talk will cover why the project was started, the approach taken to separate the kernel and user-space on ARM Cortex-M CPU’s without MMU, the collaboration with the libopencm3 project to provide a high quality hardware abstraction layer and the future goals of the project. Of course there will a demo showing the latest developments: dynamic loading of applications and possibly TCP/IP communication.


Yocto project has been used at Open-RnD for building a number of IoT related products. The talk will go though the details of integration of Poky build system and OpenEmbedded layers into 3 projects carried out at Open-RnD:

  • an autonomous parking space monitoring system
  • a distributed 3D steroscopic image acquisition system
  • a gadget for acquisition of metabolic parameters of professional athletes

The presentation will approach to building software, automation and upstreaming of fixes. Only widely available hardware platforms such as BeagleBone Black, Raspberry Pi, Wandboard or Gateworks GW5400 (not as widely used as the previous ones, but still fully supported) were used in the project, hence all the points made during presentation are directly applicable by professionals and hobbyists alike.

Tizen is an open source GNU/Linux based software platform for mobile, wearable and embedded devices as well as Internet of Things. Tizen:Common provides a generic development environment for Tizen 3 which key features include, Wayland, Weston, EFL UI/UX toolkit, and a web runtime for safely running standalone HTML5 apps. Yocto Project offers tools to easily expends features of Tizen:Common by creating layers for new profiles. This talk will focus the Tizen architecture and it will provide guidelines for creating and building new Tizen profiles, based on Tizen:Common, using the Yocto Project for devices with Intel or ARM processors. It will also provide information about hidden gems in Tizen on Yocto and practical examples for packaging and deploying HTML5 applications through Yocto recipes for the open source hardware development boards like Raspberry PI2 or HummingBoard (Freescale I.MX6 ARM SoC) or MinnowBoard Max (Intel).

Finally, since Tizen aims to because the OS of everything, we will illustrate this by extending Tizen Distro with new connectivity features provided by IoTivity library, the open source implementation of OpenInterConnect’s standard.

This session will show you how to build your own retro hand-held console that is powered by Java, runs on a Raspberry Pi, and is printed on a 3D printer. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Hacking Java on the Raspberry Pi
  • Rigging input devices with Pi4J
  • Insane performance tuning on the JVM
  • Why your boss [or SO] needs to buy you a 3D printer!

And of course your retro gaming mettle will be put to the test, so make sure to dust off your old 8 and 16 bit consoles to prepare.

How to roll your own build and extend the Fairphone 2 hardware

The project is currently doing hundreds of build and boot tests for upstream kernels on a wide variety of hardware. This session will provide an introduction to the system, some live demos and how to start consuming its results, and be a forum for further discussions.

Distributed boards farms across the world are working together to deliver unified build, boot, and test results for every merge of an upstream Linux kernel tree. A community based architecture agnostic effort, aims to detect regressions in a timely manner and report back to kernel developers with a concise summary of the issues found. On every merge, all defconfigs for x86, arm, and arm64 are built, booted, and tested on over 300 real or virtual hardware platforms. Come join in the discussion and help make Linux better!

Hardware is funny stuff. It is often documented to work one way when it actually works a slightly different way. Different revisions of the hardware may have different bugs that require different sets of work-arounds. Programming it even slightly incorrectly can lead to software crashes or system hangs. Sometimes some versions of the hardware work fine, but the version not on the developer’s desk crashes. Failure modes are often opaque and give no clues for fixing the problem. Writing robust, reliable software to run directly on hardware is hard.

Software simulation of hardware is a technique that, in many cases, can alleviate some of this pain. Teams that develop hardware will often create a simulator as a by-product of hardware synthesis. Not ever developer is fortunate to have access to such tools. Those who do have access often find them slow or difficult to use. After all, these simulators are generally created as an aid for the hardware developers themselves. Much of the benefit of a full hardware simulator can be attained by developing the simulator independently from the hardware development. When the correct techniques are applied, it’s not even that hard.

This talk will present a variety of techniques based on experience with several “home grown” simulation environments. Techniques for both developing and validating the simulator and techniques for integrating simulation in the regular development process will be described.

  • 16:00 – 17:00 – PHP7 by Derick Rethans

With PHP 7 having been released, it is time to show what’s in there. Speed, scalar type hints and spaceships.

These are just a few selection from the complete schedule. Last year, most FOSDEM 2015 videos were available in mid-March, so I’d expect FOSDEM 2016 videos to be available in about the same time frame.

As usual, the event will be free, and does not require registration, so you just need to show up at the Université libre de Bruxelles in order to attend.

F68 Smart Watch Review

January 8th, 2016 18 comments

After No.1 D3 and SMA-Q smartwatches, Makibes F68, or just F68, is my third attempt at reviewing a smartwatch, and on paper it matches all of my main requirements namely always-on display, fitness tracking with heart rate monitor, one week of battery life, and IP67 ingress protection rating to have some waterproofness. I’ve already taken pictures of the device, so today I’ll go through the user interface on the watch, and Android app, and report my experience after using the watch for over 10 days.


The watch has an e-Paper display with decent viewing angles, and very good readability during the day, however at night, you’ll need to find the light switch or use a torchlight, as the watch does not have backlight at all, and it’s unreadable. There’s actually no buttons at all and everything is controlled via the touchscreen, and/or the app available for Android or iOS. The imain menu of the interface can be accessed by swiping up or down, with the options within one menu are accessed by swiping right to left.

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I’d normally like to have time, date and step count displayed on the main watch face, but there’s clearly no space once all features are enabled on F68. The top line has up to 5 icons for: battery level, Bluetooth connection status, SMS notification ON, phone notification ON, and alarm. The center of the screen shows the time, date and day of the week, while the bottom part has up to four icons to indicate whether the  pedometer, sedentary reminder, sleep monitoring, and heart rate monitor are enabled.

The time and date are set automatically when connecting the watch to your smartphone, but you can also swipe horizontally to manually set the date and time.

F68_PedometerIf we swipe down once, there’s usually a lock screen (which I disabled), before we can access the pedometer, with the top “Running man” icon use to disable or enable the feature. This screen shows the step count, estimated calories burnt and distance for the current day. You can swipe to the right to access the data from the last seven days. When you swipe up back to the time, it’s quite easy to disable the pedometer by mistake, so make sure it is still enabled by checking out the bottom left icon is on.

The step does not seem to be very accurate, and get widely variable results days after days. For example after a 9 kilometer run, the step count only increased just over 4000 steps, or about 2.20 meters per step, which is clearly impossible with the way I run… If you are in the pedometer mode, you can usually see the count going up in real-time, but there are time when it will not move at all. So I guess a firmware update might be needed here…

F68_Watch_Heart_Rate_MonitorOne more menu down we access the heart rate monitor. An empty heart means it is turned off, a “running man” icon means the HRM is enabled in sports mode, and another icon is for “healthy heart rate” mode. I can see the green LED is on in sports mode, but not always in the other mode, so maybe it’s measuring continuously in sports mode, and only sometimes in the other one. You can also swipe right to enable hear rate alerts with minimum and maximum values.

I have not tried this, because in the same 9km run, I had troubles with reliability again. At the beginning, the watch showed plausible values (150 to 160 bpm), but after a few minutes it dropped to the 80 bpm range as I was still running, and it lasted for about 15 to 20 minutes, before going up to around 150 bpm. Having said that I’m also enabled “All day HRM” in the Android app, which takes measurements every few minutes , and the data appears to be plausible with low heart rate when I sleep, slightly higher when I get and do about my daily business, and higher when doing some more demanding activities. So I’m not sure what happened during the run, maybe the sweat or position of the watch.

Makibes_F68_Smartwatch_Sedentary_Sleep_Stopwatch_AlarmGoing down in the interface once more, we can see four icon for sedentary alert, sleep monitoring, stopwatch, and alarm.

F68_Sedentary_Reminder_Sleep_MonitoringThe sedentary reminder  can be enabled/disabled with the top icon, and the options allows for a delay of 30 minutes and up by 15 minutes increments. However, it was never triggered when I tried it… I don’t find sleep monitoring very useful, but I still tried it once night, and it showed the sleep time correctly from midnight.

F68_Smart_Watch_Stopwatch_AlarmThe stopwatch works, but you can only start it and stop it. There’s no intermediate time like on standard watches. The alarm can be set from the watch or the smartphone app, and vibrates when the time is up.


The next menu shows icon for user data, Bluetooth, system, and info.

F68_Watch_User_DataThe user settings let you configure gender, age, weight, and height, but it’s something much easily done from the mobile app.


You can manually turn on or off Bluetooth. If the lock is closed, Bluetooth is turned off, if it is opened it it turned on. You can also see the Bluetooth ID at the bottom of the screen e.g. SPORT 91AF.

F68_Factory_Reset_Firmware_VersionThe system menu will let you reset to factory settings, or power off the watch, while the information will show the firmware version and serial number, in my case the firmware was SPORT v1.79.1.

I have not taken pictures for the notifications but they basically work and you see it in the review video further below. The information is quite basic as only an envelop icon is shown for SMS, and a phone icon and caller ID when you receive a call. You can’t take any action from the watch, but at least you are information when your smartphone get an SMS or phone call. It also support QQ, WeChat, Facebook and Twitter, but I did not really try those.

Which brings me to the mobile app called HPlus Watch and available for Android and iOS.

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After enabling Bluetooth in the watch and your smartphone, you’ll want to pair it with your phone. It will show as SPORT XXXX as shown in the watch, and I had no problem to connect. One you have installed the app, you can input your goal, and data, and the app will calculate your BMI. I did so, and the app told that I was … Fat! (what? impossible, this is clearly a bug :)).

You can also configure a few alarms with a work schedule where you can set the time and date of the week for specific actions such asgetting up, exercise, reading, watching a ball game… , as well as another alarm clock. I did not try the work schedule, but as previously mentioned the alarm is working, and the watch vibrates when the time is up.

I also enabled incoming calls and message notifications, as well as Facebook notifications in “Social notice” menu. I mostly receive Facebook Page Manager notifications, and they never showed on the watch, but maybe it’s only working for Facebook app.


I’ve also enabled All day HR to have the watch monitor my hear rate all day, and it seemed to work, and did not seem to affect the battery life much. If you don’t like the lock screen you can disable it by settings “Screen saver timer” to 255.

If you want to check your data you can go to the dashboard to see a chart with your step count and heart rate for the current day, as well as number for the estimated distance and total calories.

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Yesterday data is rather useless, and I challenge you not to laugh when you read the associated text.

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The data summary with weekly and monthly charts is a little more interesting, but we cannot access the detailed chart for a given day.

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Real-time HR will show a chart of your heart rate for the last few hours, but you’ll have to make sure Bluetooth is connected, as it will look like the right side of the chart.

Finally, I’ll have a few words about the waterproofness and battery life of the watch, and I have to say I’m very pleased with the former, and relatively satisfied with the latter. I wore the watch while taking showers, and spent 15 minutes swimming and playing in a swimming pool (although you are not exactly supposed to do that with IP67 devices), and there was no issue with humidity going into the watch at all. However, one downside is that the touchscreen display is active, and the user interface can be changed because of the flow of water. For example, I managed to factory reset the watch once while taking a shower, and that’s the reason why you may want to keep the lock screen on. In my opinion, a touchscreen display is not really ideal for a sports watch, and button would be preferable, and even if you don’t swim, you may run early morning or in the evening, and condensation will form on the face making the touchscreen hard to use for example if you want to switch between pedometer and HRM interface.

The battery is supposed to last one week on a charge, but with Bluetooth on most of the time ,and the pedometer activated I could get 3 to 4 days on a charge, usually 4 days, or even a little more. Charging is also convenient with the magnetic dock, and quite fast, as a full charge takes around 45 minutes.

Video Review


F68 smartwatch has a limited number of features, but does much of what it’s supposed to do reasonably well, however I found the step count and heart rate monitor to provide unreliable data, appearing to work well at time, but then providing clearly bogus data.


  • Always-on e-Paper display, readable under sunlight
  • Good Bluetooth connectivity, i.e. no problem with Bluetooth as with SMA-Q
  • Decent battery life (around 4 days)
  • SMS and calls notifications working OK.
  • Most features work as advertised
  • Waterproof (IP67). Tested under shower, and swimming. The latter is not guaranteed with IP67 however
  • HPlus watch app is not too bad
  • Cost effective (~$30)


  • No backlight for night use
  • Pedometer and heart rate monitor do not seem to work reliably all the time.
  • Touchscreen display is active under water, and the flow can change your settings.
  • Notification support is basic, only icon for SMS, icon + caller ID for phone calls, and few social networks supported.
  • No way to access details of data outside of the current day, e.g. fitness chart for yesterday, or other days.
So if they could just improve the pedometer and HRM reliability it would be quite a decent device, although not perfect because of the lack of backlight for night reading, and the choice to go with a touchscreen display for a sports watch.
I’d like to thanks GearBest for provide Makibes F68 sports smart watch for review, and they sell it for $34.89 in blue, orange, or black. You could also shop on GeekBuying, and eBay for roughly the same price.

Omron Project Zero BP6000 is Both a Blood Pressure Monitor and a Smartwatch

January 6th, 2016 17 comments

Many smartwaches or fitness trackers include an heart rate monitor, but instead many people need to monitor their blood pressure to make sure it’s not too high (hypertension) or low (hypotension). Usually this involves either going to the doctor, or doing measurements at home with a blood pressure monitor by placing a cuff on the upper arm, and in this should take a short time, but many people may still not want to bother with the procedure. So Omron has designed a new blood pressure monitor that looks like a large smartwatch, and includes the same function as fitness monitors, in order to simply the process further, and have more people regularly measure their blood pressure.

Omrom_P6000_Blood_Pressure_MonitorTechnical details about Project Zero wrist blood pressure monitor (BPM) are not fully available yet, but we do now the company is going through FDA approval, so contrary to gadgets with heat rate monitors whose measurements can not be fully trusted, it will be reliable and accurate at +/- 3mm Hg per hear beat. When you take a measurement, the wrist band will slightly squeeze your wrist. just like when using a cuff. The device will also remind users to take medication and record the time they take to improve. Omron BPM will also be compatible with Omron Connect mobile app, available for Android and iOS, which can share information with a personal physician.

Wearable_Blood_Pressure_MonitorThe watch will also track your sleep, measure your heart rate, count your steps, estimate the calories you’ve burnt through the day, the distance walked, and… display the time of the day. The company has also developed project zero upper arm blood pressure monitor (P7000 model) integrating a display and Bluetooth Smart connectivity. Charbax interviewed the company, and filmed both devices with the part about P6000 starting at 2:50.

Eventually more details should surface on Omron Project Zero page. Both products should become available late 2016, and sell for less than $200.


F68 Sports Smartwatch Unboxing

December 29th, 2015 2 comments

Makibes F68 is a smartwatch with fitness features (HRM, pedometer…) and smartphone notification support, that is supposed to last around one week on a charge, and certified with an IP67 ingress protection rating. GearBest asked me if I wanted to review that model since SMA-Q watch was a disappointment, and I accepted so I have yet another smartwatch to try out. Today. I’ll take a few pictures of the watch and accessories, better writing a full review in one or two weeks.


The package looks quite nice, but one detail is quite revealing: there’s no Makibes brand, nor F68 model name anywhere, and it looks exactly like FlyShark BW410 reported a few days ago by Charbax, so it must be an OEM design that will show up under multiple brand names, not only Makibes.

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The watch is not fully assembled, and instead the watch face comes with two watch bands, a charging pad, a micro USB to USB cable, and two “Quick Understand” guides in English and Chinese.

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The round shape is nice, but it has the same black band on the lower part as Moto 360. There are no buttons at all around the watch, so everything will have to be handled by the touchscreen.Makibes_F68_HRMThe bottom of the watch features the HRM sensor, and two charging pins. There are also four screws, but I’ll resist the temptation to open it before the review since it’s supposed to be somewhat waterproof with an IP67 rating.


That’s how the watch is placed on the charging pad.

Makibes_F68_On_Wristand once assembled, it fits on the wrist nicely with a band long that should be long enough for most wrists.

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Time to charge the watch before testing it… Sadly, I’ve already found a pretty bad issue (to me): there’s no backlight at all, or none that I could find, so the watch is unreadable at night or in the dark, unless you turn on the light…

F68 sports smartwatch can be purchased on GearBest for $29.89 in blue, orange, or black. Alternatively, you can also find it on GeekBuying, and eBay for about the same price.

How to Upgrade SMA-Q Smartwatch Firmware

December 17th, 2015 17 comments

I’ve started testing SMA-Q smartwatch, and so far I’ve had lots of issues with Bluetooth connectivity. The watch can rarely pair with my Android smartphone, and I was unable to enable features like Anti-lost and Sedendary alerts as the app would always report there was no connection. The company has sent me instructions to upgrade the firmware, and it seems to have improved things a little.

So first you need to install SMA Services app by scanning the QR code on the user’s manual, or download the apk by following this link. Once this is done you can register, or skip registration. Now go to Setting, and select Connect watch.

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You should see a circle as on the left side above reading Searching watch, then Bluetooth Connecting, before seeing a message the connection was successful. You’ll probably them want to tap on Upgrade app, before tapping on Firmware upgrade (local version 1.0.0) which will show the screenshot in the middle. Simply press the right button (meaning OK), and the third screenshot will appear. At this stage, turn off your watch by pressing the back button for a few seconds, then press the Confirm (middle right) and back button simultaneously until a rainbow like pattern shows in the screen of the watch. Now press the right button (meaning start), the watch screen should turn red, and the app should show the progress of the file transfer.

SMA-Q_Watch_Firmware_UpdateYou’ll get a success message in the watch once the transfer is complete, and the watch screen will stay red. Now press the back button to turn on the watch. You should be able to connect to the watch (be patient as it may easily take 20 to 30 seconds), and notice the firmware has been upgraded to 1.2.2, or whatever version is available at the time of the update.

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After the upgrade I was also able to enable Anti-lost and Sedentary, which I had never manged to do with the older firmware. I’ll see how it goes…

You can also watch the embedded video below which shows the whole process of updating the firmware and pairing the watch and the phone.

SMA-Q e-Paper Smartwatch Unboxing and Details

December 16th, 2015 5 comments

When I first discovered SMA-Q smartwatch, I really found it interesting with its always-on color e-Paper display, Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, heart rate monitor, and promise of 30-day battery life (standby) for just $56. GearBest send me one sample so that I can have a close look at this interesting smartwatch and fitness tracker. I’ll start by unboxing the watch, and checkout some details that were unclear in the specifications.

I received it in a retail package that calls it SMA WATCH-Q instead of SMA-Q watch with a link to the official website.

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On one side we’ll get the specifications, all in Chinese, but even if you can read, it’s clear the watch supports Bluetooth 4.0 and Android 4.4+ IOS7.0+ as announced in the specs, and we also learned a 150mAh battery is included, and it’s compliant with IP65 ingrees protectin ratings meaning it’s “protected from total dust ingress and low pressure water jets from any direction”. But I’ll come to that later. I’m not sure what 80mA means here (power consumption? it’s charging current).

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Click to Enlarge

On the back of the package we’ve got some information about the capabilities of the device including call notification, anti-lost feature, activity tracking. HRM, a Sharp Color LCD, and so on.

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Click to Enlarge

The watch comes with a user’s manual in Chinese and English, and a USB cable with a magnetic end to charge the watch.

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Click to Enlarge

Before checking out the watch itself, let’s see some useful part of the user’s manual.

SMA-Q_watch_buttons_descriptionThe first page of the manual descript the four buttons on the watch: Back & Power On/Off button on one siode, and Up, Down, and confirm button on the other side. There’s no touchscreen, so you’ll have to use the button to control the user interface.
SMA-Q_Android_iOS_appThen there’s a link to download the Android / iOS app, and I’ll go through it in details with an Android smartphone in the full review.

SMA-Q_Watch_SpecificationsThe specifications clarifies what “IP65”, and “30-meter water resistant” means: “cannot swimming and shower”. Apparently 30-meter water resistant is an old “standard” used in watches meaning it’s not really waterproof… and Wikipedia explains it:

a watch marked 30 metres water resistant cannot be expected to withstand activity for longer time periods in a swimming pool, let alone continue to function at 30 metres under water. This is because the test is conducted only once using static pressure on a sample of newly manufactured watches.

As a side note, Vidonn X5 activity tracker was also rated IP65, and I had to problems while taking shower for over a year, but obviously you are taking the risk of damaging your device if you do so…

Back to the watch itself.


On the back we’ve got the magnetic charging connector on the left, and the heart rate sensor in the center of the watch. For what it’s worth, It has two small “holes” instead of one on No1. D3 smartwatch which was placed close to the side, and did not work very well, i.e. did not work at all.

SMA-Q-Watch_back_buttonOn of the left side of th watch, you’ve got the back button, which also acts as power on/off and backlight button, and on the right side, the up, down and OK buttons.


SMA-Q smartwatch is neither very small not big, and I think it should be suitable for both men and women.


However, if you have large wrists, the watchband might be a little short, as I had just 3 holes left on mine.

SMA-Q_Watchband_LenghtIt’s also clearly shorter than No.1 D3 smartphone’s band, and the screen is also smaller. The metal part is said to be made of stainless steel.


SMA-Q Watch vs No.1 D3 Watch

Normally at this stage, I would try to teardown the watch, but I could not find any safe way to open the watch without risking to affect this waterproofness, so it might be something I try after the review. Instead, I went to charge the watch.

SMA-Q_Watch_ChargingThe magnetic end of the USB cable can only be plugged in one direction, but you can’t do it wrong as the magnets will prevent you from plugging it in the wrong direction. At first, I tried to charge it via the USB port of my computer, but as nothing showed up on the screen, I started the watch.

SMA-Q_Smartwatch_Color_e-paper_displayThe first thing that confused me was that the screen was so dim, but I quickly found out that e-Paper displays behave exactly the opposite of OLED displays when it comes to visibility, and work like paper or an old-fashioned digital watch: you can’t see anything in the dark, but it’s very clear in bright light. And since my office is quite dark, I could not see clearly the display, but the left button also triggers a backlight which makes the watch readable in the dark. The screen looks much brighter on the picture above because of my camera flash. Anyway, I still and no indication that the battery was charging so I switch to a 5V/2A charger, and charging started…

SMA-Q_smartwatch_battery_levelSo I’ll test all features of this smartwatch including heart rate monitor, smartphone synchronization, and battery life over the next week or two weeks, before publishing a full review of SMA-Q watch.

GearBest sent the device for review, so if you are interested you can consider purchasing from them for $55.90 including shipping. beside Black color, the watch is also available in Khaki, blue and red for the same price. Other e-retailers listing the watch include Tinydeal ($59), Amazon US ($75), and Dealsmachine ($49.99 + shipping).

Omate Rise is a $199 3G and WiFi Smartwatch Powered by Mediatek MT2601 SoC (Crowdfunding)

December 2nd, 2015 3 comments

Most smartwatches sold on the western markets are designed to be smartphone’s companions, and only come with Bluetooth LE connectivity, while we’ve seen many smartwatches (aka watchphones) with SIM card slot originating from China in the past, including the lower end No.1 D3 smartwatch which I reviewed recently. But this may be changing, as Omate is going to launch a new smartwatch called Omate Rise that will include 3G connectivity via a micro SIM card slot, as well as WiFi, Bluetooth Smart, and GPS.

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Click to Enlarge

Omate Rise specifications:

  • SoC – Mediatek MT2601 dual core ARM Cortex A7 @ 1.2GHz with ARM Mali-400 MP GPU
  • System Memory –  512MB RAM
  • Storage – 4GB flash
  • Display – 1.3″ round muti-touch color display with 360×360 resolution (Innolux)
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.1 LE (A2DP profile), WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS
  • Cellular Connectivity – 3.5G HSDPA (2100/1900 MHz), GPRS / EDGE /GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz); micro SIM card slot
  • Sensors – 6-axis accelerometer, magnetometer / gyroscope
  • Audio – Microphone and loud speaker
  • Misc – Home/power button
  • Battery – 580mAh polymer battery
  • Dimensions – N/A (22 mm watch strap)
  • IP rating – N/A (1 ATM water resistant)


The watch will run Android 5.1 with Omate OUI 4.0, and be compatible with Android 4.3+ and iOS 9. It’s interesting to note the processor, memory, storage and display parts of the specifications looks exactly the same as the upcoming Bluboo Xwatch with Android Wear. However,  Omate Rise does have some extra features like 3G, WiFi, GPS,  upport for the newer Bluetooth 4.1, a larger battery, and likely a better overall quality. The company also plans to release the source code on XDA Developer forums.

The watch will be introduced via Indiegogo (not live yet) on December 7, 2015 at 10am (New York time), but unlike other crowdfunding campaign that typical last one to two months, Omate Rise crowdfunding will only take place over 48 hours. A $199 pledge should get you an Omate Rise watch, and for super early bird backers a free BLE heart rate monitor chest belt will be included. Delivery is scheduled for endo f March 2016.

Via Liliputing