6/13/13

We’re opening up SmartWatch! Create and flash alternative firmware

Openness towards the developer community has been an important driving force for us for a long time. We’ve have, for example, published everything from open sourced binaries and code examples to DASH, and made it possible to unlock many of our smartphones and tablets. We’re now adding an experimental project we call Open SmartWatch to that list, resulting, we hope, in a lot of innovation. It means we’ll make it possible for advanced developers to create and flash alternative firmware to Sony SmartWatch, by sharing technical details and instructions. Find out more in the full post!
Developers have been able to create apps for the SmartWatch using the Sony Add-on SDK for quite some time already, however, with the Open SmartWatch project, we’re opening up the device even more. If you’re an advanced developer, you can now take control of SmartWatch as a hardware peripheral in new ways by creating and flashing your own alternative firmware.
Currently, there are no alternative firmware versions for SmartWatch, but we hope that that the Open SmartWatch project will inspire and make it possible for you to create new innovations.
As a step in that direction, this Saturday we have co-arranged a SmartWatch Arduino Hackathon in Malmö, Sweden, together with Arduino. For this hack, Arduino will put together a tool chain enabling Arduino firmware to run on the SmartWatch. If you’re in the south of Sweden or in Denmark, and you’re interested in joining the Hack, check out the details on the SmartWatch Arduino Hackathon website. We’ll keep you posted on any interesting projects or firmware versions coming out of this collaboration!
For advanced developers interested in creating alternative firmware, you’ll find all the details on the new Open SmartWatch Project section. Here you will find a “Hacker guide” with technical information, instructions for how to flash the SmartWatch and a list of existing firmware versions (to be updated once there is alternative firmware available).
The “Hacker guide” consists of reference information for SmartWatch, including information about the display, Bluetooth™, I2C peripherals, touch sensor protocols and much more.
To flash alternative firmware to SmartWatch, the DFU (Device Firmware Upgrade) format is used and the firmware is flashed over USB. We recommend you to use the dfu-util tool for this. For more details, check out the Open SmartWatch Project section on Developer World.
Please note that this is only for advanced developers. Normal consumers are strongly advised to keep the official tested and verified Sony firmware. For interested developers, please read the Important information section on the Open SmartWatch Project page before you start hacking and modding your SmartWatch. You may permanently destroy it by doing so, so you shouldn’t do it unless you are completely sure of what you do. But if you’re confident, check out all the details at Open SmartWatch Project section.
So, what firmware and experimental use cases would you like to see for the open SmartWatch? Drop us a line below and let us know. Please note that we don’t have the possibility to give extensive developer support, but if you are working on alternative firmware, and run into problems, you can drop us a line at Stack Overflow, and we’ll try to help out to the best of our effort. Just remember to tag your question “Sony” and “SmartWatch”, and we’ll make sure the right people find it.

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