back to article Chronos EZ430: An SDK packing watch for real techies

When does The Register take interest in a $50 sports watch? When it comes with an SDK and wireless connectivity, and packing a screwdriver. The Chronos EZ430 from Texas Instruments is no consumer product, despite its appearance and low price. It's really a development platform designed to show off what TI's embedded sensor …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
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    Nice and geeky...

    ... but if you really want to look a twat in all social situations while saving a bit of cash the "Girl Tech IM-me" uses the same TI radio chippery and can be had for a tenner on the high street. There's also a burgeoning hacking community for it, but you sacrifice the accelerometer for a qwerty keyboard and a bigger screen. Oh, and it's bright pink.

  2. Greg J Preece

    I *love* it!

    As a dyed-in-the-wool nerdy boy, I will be ordering one at the first available opportunity. It can sit on my wrist next to my binary timepiece.

  3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
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    Not sure what good it's for

    But I'll bet *someone* makes a million dollars off an app of this tech.*

    *Sadly I've no idea who.

  4. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Timex Datalink

    I still have a Timex Datalink watch. Yup, It's still running fine even though I bought it about 20 years ago.

    Inside it runs on a Motorola HC6805 micro, and downloading to it is done using a PC with CRT monitor, flashing lines on the screen to get 1200 baud through the photodiode in the watch face. Apart from telephone numbers, to-do list and appointments from MS schedule / Outlook no less, you can also install 1 user app (stopwatch, etc.)

    There was a community that worked out how to write different apps for the phone in assember and all sorts of apps were available, including one that told you how long you were allowed in each pub to do a pub crawl of 1 pub per station on the London circle line before closing time!

  5. Eddy Ito Silver badge


    No link!?! Thank the gods and little fishes I can form a simple query to enter into a search engine. I shall benevolently spare every future interested party the arduous process of typing something like 'ti watch' or 'chronos ez430' into "The Goog" or some such.

    Now then, I'll be off to place an order.

  6. mulder
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    how to order

    where and how can we order one?

  7. OffBeatMammal

    next generation Polar devices?

    I notice this bears more than a passing resemblance to my Polar FT80 ("training computer" aka heart rate monitor connected watch)... with the addition of built in RF (rather than the NFC that Polar use with a dongle) and accelerometers (for pedometer? inertial mapping?) this could make an interestign next generation device

  8. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
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    I'd like one, except that it doesn't seem to have GPS functionality. Now that would be of value.

    Still a geek toy that those who grew up in the era of garage computing would want one!

  9. John Young 1
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    OK, OK, I'm sold on it... Now..... Where can I get one???

  10. Steen Hive


    TI are now officially the cure for Apple and win the "Sir Clive Sinclair Hackable gadget award 2010"

    Although finding places to solder JTAG cables into Apple and Sony products does give a much more profound sense of satisfaction.

  11. The Indomitable Gall

    Hmmm... Can it sync with a smartphone?

    Talking to a computer is all well and good, but I quite fancy tying it to a GPS-enabled smartphone and mapping out my running and cycle workouts. Shame there's no heartrate monitor built in....

  12. Anonymous John

    Damn yuu El Reg!

    This article has cost me £33.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Me thinks that is the 915MHz version for N&S America. Is it legal in the UK?

      PS, I've read the 433MHz version might be more hackable.

      PPS, new firmware released a few days ago including better docs, Linux support and OTA re-programming.

      1. JonJonJon

        Which model?

        The 3 models listed at have these designations:

        EZ430-CHRONOS-868: "EU"

        EZ430-CHRONOS-915: "US"

        EZ430-CHRONOS-433: "WW"

        Assuming WW == WorldWide, it does beg the question of which bit of spectrum is unregulated in the UK: 868MHz or 433MHz. Or both. Google has yet to produce a definitive answer ...

  13. Jason

    Yup, me too

    Luckily my birthday is coming up, so I can call it an early present

  14. John Smith 19 Gold badge
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    Timex Datalink

    Forgot all about it.

  15. Brian Miller


    I wonder if it is good enough to be used as an input for a Theremin controller app. Now, that would be neat!

  16. JonJonJon

    Re: Which model?

    So suggests that the 433 band is suitable for the UK, but doesn't touch on the 868 band either way. Anyone care to comment who actually knows anything, rather than relying on my blind wikiwanderings?

    1. Bill Ray (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Re: Which model?

      433MHz is indeed legal world-wide, but that model wasn't available when this article was written. We used the EU-legal 868MHz model, which the piece wrongly said was usable in the US (that's been fixed now).

      So if you can get 433MHz then best go for that, and do let me know what you end up using it for as we'll be continuing to see what it can do over the next month or two.


  17. Steve Dulieu
    Paris Hilton

    Teledildontic Circle Jerk Anyone?

    So a wireless programable device capable of reading rapid wrist movments and transmiting them to a computer? Which via the internet could talk to other computers that are themselve's talking to other wrist mounted motion sensors? 15 comments in and I'm the first to think of the teledildontic possiblities of this peice of kit? My fellow commentards, you're slipping...

    Got to be Paris, everyone gather round, open channel "C"...

    Cheers, Steve.

  18. Joe Carter
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    433MHz is UK legal

    433MHz is definitely legal here in the UK. It's very common for home automation. E.g. the HomeEasy stuff you get in B&Q which of course begs the question of whether the watch can do that protocol. Arduino code for the HomeEasy stuff is available.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    smart board hardware?

    Would this not lend itself very easily to turning a normal projector / windows touch api setup into a smart board?

  20. Visual Echo


    Bad news... they're back ordered already :-)

  21. Chris Fleming
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    3D wireless mouse app

    Point and click your fingers. (3 axis) Might try that...

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