This thought came into my mind on thinking about smartwatches.

Although those I saw on YouTube are really good, they don't seem to provide a real experience of a real smartwatch - one that has an OS embedded in it. If some code in Arduino C/c++ can be compiled into some binary code that works on being called from the flash memory (where the main program resides), is there a possibility that we will be able to make an OS for Arduino ?

  • see Wear OS wearos.google.com
    – Juraj
    Jul 18, 2020 at 13:29
  • 1
    Sure, but you have a very small footprint in which to write this OS. You only have a very small amount of memory in which to store that code. So it will have to be a very small OS with very little functionality.
    – Delta_G
    Jul 18, 2020 at 13:40

1 Answer 1


An AVR-based Arduino is a poor choice for writing an "OS" in the modern sense. It's just too resource constrained. It doesn't have enough RAM, it doesn't have enough flash memory, it's too slow, it doesn't have protected memory or paging, it doesn't have video display, it doesn't have a file system, and on and on.

If you look at an Apple II, something like Apple DOS or ProDos gives you an idea of the sort of thing you can do (minus the video output.)

If you want to develop something like a smart watch an ARM processor is a much better choice. It packs a lot more performance into a small package. You might pick an ARM based Arduino, but you would be fighting against the lack of an OS, the lack of preemptive multi-tasking, etc.

As an alternative, a Raspberry Pi has just about everything you need. It doesn't have as many hardware interfacing options as an Arduino, but a LOT more processing power. Likewise, UNIX is a better choice as the basis for the OS for such a device. It is a protected memory OS that is made to run on relatively modest hardware.

  • If anything an ARM will have more hardware interfacing options as it has more modern peripherals and protocols embedded in it.
    – Majenko
    Jul 18, 2020 at 22:54
  • Sorry, I was conflating ARM with Raspberry Pi. I edited my answer to treat ARM-based Arduinos sepereately from Pis.
    – Duncan C
    Jul 19, 2020 at 18:58

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