Sony has just announced the Open SmartWatch Project, which welcomes developers to produce and flash alternative firmware to the SmartWatch. In the past, the Japan-based electronics giant had only allowed developers to make apps with the Sony Add-on SDK.
Before one gets too excited, however, Sony clarifies that the Open SmartWatch Project does have some limitations and risks which should be fully understood.
First, once a developer flashes alternative firmware to the device, one’s access to SmartConnect as well as other compatible apps for the watch on Google Play will already be prohibited.
Likewise, flashing alternative firmware may also void the warranty on the SmartWatch. Sony thus advises developers to read through its warranty statement.
As a result of this, the company will thus have to replace key parts in the SmartWatch if one brings it for repair, in order to fully test and fix the device with Sony’s tools.
Such repair may also warrant a considerable service charge since one has already modified the software of the Smarwatch.
As a disclaimer, Sony says that once one has introduced modifications, it cannot ensure the user that the device will still function optimally. Worse, one may even damage the device beyond repair, or even cause physical injuries in case it overheats.
Sony therefore strongly advises that only advanced developers try their hand at creating and flashing alternative firmware.
To aid developers, Sony provides several instruction guides for the Open SmartWatch Project. The first guide introduces the merits of making alternative firmware. The second is a hacker guide that gives detailed specifications about the device’s processor, display, Bluetooth, Buzzer, I2C peripherals, and touch sensors. The third is a quick guide about how to flash new firmware to the device. The fourth includes a list of available firmware versions, which at present, only shows the Standard SmartWatch firmware, in case the developer wants to bring it back. Lastly, the fifth guide gives a link to Stack Overflow where developers can post questions about creating and flashing firmware.