Sony wants to make sure that you remember they've got a smartwatch, what with all these Pebbles, Agents, and every other Johnny-come-lately crowding the market. They may have found the perfect vector for getting their somewhat aged Bluetooth watch back in the spotlight, at least among die-hard Android power users: custom ROMs. Sony is now officially condoning hacks and modifications to the SmartWatch, as detailed on their Developer World blog.


They're calling it the Open SmartWatch Project, a portal for developers to bone up on the basics and download all the tools they need to create pint-sized, flashable builds of the SmartWatch software, or indeed, something entirely new. Sony isn't actually providing alternative firmware (like the do with AOSP for various phones and tablets), merely showing developers the steps in creating their own. Previously Sony had allowed developers to create apps for the SmartWatch via an SDK, but the system itself has stayed relatively locked until now. Flashing new firmware will be achieved with the Device Firmware Upgrade format, using the USB cord included in the retail SmartWatch packaging.

As a show of good faith, Sony has teamed up with Arduino, makers of the open-source microcontroller hardware of the same name, to allow Arduino firmware to run on the watch. Users will still be limited by the hardware of the SmartWatch (Bluetooth and a 128x128 color touchscreen) but that should enable quite a lot of existing projects to be easily ported over. They'll be demonstrating the collaboration at the SmartWatch Arduino Hackathon on June 15th (Saturday) in Malmo, Sweden.

Of course, the minute you try to do any of this, your warranty is void, nullified, lost, and gone forever - Sony wants to make sure that only developers who know and acknowledge the risk to their fancy watches participate in the program. Consider yourself warned, would-be watch hackers. Now get cracking.

Via Sony Developer World

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Samuel Hart

    BOOYA! I've been waiting for something like this, nice one Sony :D

  • Cory_S

    It is interesting to see Sony opening up considering how closed they have been with all their products...going as far to sue people for opening the PS3 up. Either way, they should had supported this at launch...now I don't think anyone cares.

    • MikeG

      They didn't sue people of opening the PS3 up you cretin, they sued A person for hacking the system and publishing the keys on the Internet that opened the system to piracy.

      You need to stop believing Microsoft's version of events.

      • Cory_S

        You mean the guy who was simply trying to bring back advertised options the system was originally sold with (Other OS support)? They brought it among themselves by squeezing too tightly once again.

        • Danny Kees

          Yeah his name was Geoff Hottz I think. OtherOS was advertised and shouldn't have been removed. They were asking for trouble when they did.

  • Owen Finn

    Do this with the Sony Dash, please!

    • Wayne Moyer

      Well the Dash is a Chumby. There are people who can still add apps to that. With Chumby officially down I don't know what will happen to them.

  • mephime

    How long until someone puts Google Glass on this?

  • Herman

    Protip to Sony:

    Release this watch, but with micro USB charging, a screen that can stay on like a real watch (some kind of E-paper display) and most importantly: make it completely waterproof.

    Not just splashproof: waterproof. I just can't buy this smartwatch because I'm in the rain a lot. And when I'm not, I'm probably washing the dishes. I wouldn't want my watch to stop working all of the sudden.

    • Ark

      ...so pebble. You're talking about Pebble.

      • nawa

        Nope. Pebble has a proprietary charger and LCD display.

        • Ark

          That stays on for a full week.

          You can't make a microUSB charger AND have it be waterproof. Pebble's solution is likely the best possible.

          • jaduncan

            Someone should tell you about these 'covers' that are commonly used for that combination of requirements. I understand they have worked out for the Defy and Xperia Z.

          • Ark

            That makes them somewhat water resistant. It looks awful (having a rubber tab hanging out), but it could work in theory. But it wont make it waterproof.

            Regardless, that's one thing. These watches are buggy, they have awful touchscreens, they have crappy batteries and work really badly as watches - you need to turn the screen on to see the time. They are also never updated.

            I find them also incredibly ugly, but that is subjective.

            These need to be forgotten, and another, better attempt made.

        • Firehawkws7

          Hate to burst your bubble, but the Pebble has an E-ink display.

      • Herman


        Yeah, actually. A Sony-made Pebble-like smartwatch. The Pebble isn't perfect either, that's why I haven't bought myself one yet.

  • Mike Reid

    Cool ! :)

    Sony please do the same for the MW-1 and any other Smart BT headsets...

  • Matthew Fry

    Good Guy Sony.

  • Brandon Fletcher

    I bought this thing when it came out, it was a giant turd, sold it a few weeks later on ebay. Horrible UI, sync issues, charging issues. I think they got to the point where they couldn't see it going anywhere as a product (i.e. getting better at doing the things it was advertised to do on day one), so they opened it up for someone else to fix.