While the rumor mill continues to buzz about a possible Samsung or Apple smartwatch, let’s not forget that Sony has had their own watch for a while now. Sony’s SmartWatch might not have taken the world by storm, but it does seem to have a small, loyal following behind it.
Probably the biggest problem for Sony’s SmartWatch was that the software wasn’t exactly great when it debuted in 2012. The good news is that Sony has been good about releasing patches that further improve on the software. That said, there is still plenty of room for improvement.
That’s where Sony’s announcement of the “Open SmartWatch Project” comes in. Previously Sony’s SDK made it possible for developers to write their own apps for the watch, but now Sony is opening up the watch even further. Going forward, it will be possible for advanced developers to create alternative firmware and flash it back to the watch.
What’s brilliant about this move is that it helps promote Sony’s watch as a reasonably-affordable developer tool, all while giving Sony new ideas for future SmartWatch software or even hardware updates.
Sony does make it clear that there are some limitations to flashing alternative firmware to the Smartwatch. For one thing, it will probably no longer work as intended. This also means it won’t be able to use SmartConnect or work with any compatible Smartwatch app available on Google Play.
Obviously tinkering around at this level will also possibly void your warranty. Risks and limitations aside, this is great news for those looking for a clean slate for creating new use cases and wearable experiments using Sony’s watch.
To get the project up off the ground and running, Sony has announced a SmartWatch Arduino hackathon this Saturday in Malmö, Sweden. The goal is to show off the platform and help show developers what it is truly capable of.
What do you think of Sony’s Smartwatch and their new Open SmartWatch Project? Could this lead to further positive developments when it comes to wearable technology? We certainly hope so.