Forget the iWatch, China’s Shanda is Launching its Own Smart Watch Running Firefox OS

Steven Millward
4:20 pm on Mar 20, 2013

Bambook Smart Watch running Firefox OS

China’s Shanda has made e-readers for years, and launched an Android-based smartphone last year. Its next hardware venture will be much smaller and actually wearable – a smart watch. According to Chinese media reports this week, it’ll be called the Bambook Smart Watch and will run the open source Firefox OS.

The leaked picture above, spotted via Technode, is said to be the actual Bambook Smart Watch, and it’ll launch in June. Running Mozilla’s Firefox OS – which will also be adopted by a number of Chinese smartphone makers, like Huawei and ZTE – the wearable device will run HTML5 web apps, negating any dependence on things like Android native apps. Though reports suggest the device will also support Android will be available as a separate version for Android (and thanks to Engadget’s Richard Lai for pointing out that detail).

As well as using the Bambook name that’s so familiar to Chinese gadget buyers, Shanda’s smart watch will use the kind of color e-ink display (1) that has been put into service on its e-readers, but there are no hardware specs available yet.

The Bambook Smart Watch looks to be arriving at an opportune time when no other major Chinese hardware makers have entered the space. Shanda, as one of China’s largest software, hardware, and gaming companies, already has the distribution channels to promote and sell this well. Plus, it’ll benefit from the perpetual and very dubious hype surrounding “rumors” (2) of an Apple iWatch. There are other such watches from Sony and Pebble, but they’ll likely never properly support Chinese web services and so will not catch on in China.

Speaking of web services, Shanda has plenty of its own that could make the Bambook Smart Watch a compelling buy – imagine if the watch could read aloud your Bambook-purchased e-books, sync your Shanda MKnote reminders, whilst giving you updates on how your gaming buddies are performing on your favorite Shanda MMO game. We’ll have to wait until June to see just how smart the watch will be.

(Source: Techweb – article in Chinese; hat-tip to Technode for spotting this)

  1. The color version of the Bambook e-reader currently uses Mirasol e-ink displays.  ↩
  2. Though the iWatch rumors feel more like insubstantial High School fabrications that have turned into playground folklore.  ↩

  • Bastien Verdier

    Shanda’s device looks sweet, although it’s hardly the first “smart watch” – for years, you had dozens of “phone-watch” with MTK OS . Also, you can buy the Sony’s Pebble in China, with chinese UI, although I guess the devices all come from HK and are sold on the gray market. I’m curious to see the functions available for the Android version. (the Firefox OS version seems kind of pointless).

  • Caspy7

    Firefox OS can fairly easily be put on Android hardware and should be more performant on low-end hardware, so putting it on a smart watch would seem to make sense.

  • Anthony

    hey im in Australia and i got my Bambook S1 today . Im having trouble changing the language to full English. Ive been to the settings and changes it to English but that only changed a few things 95% of the phone is still in Chinese. Is there any way to make it fully English ?

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