Sony Turns Its Lackluster SmartWatch Into A Developer Playground

Posted: June 17, 2013 in Gadgets, GT, Sony
Tags: , ,

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Back during the heady days of 2012, before the
Pebble raised a crazy amount of money on
Kickstarter, Sony quietly released an Android-
compatible smartwatch of its own. By most accounts
it wasn’t very good, but that doesn’t mean that Sony
has relegated it to the trash pile. No, with hindsight being what it is, Sony is looking to
breathe some new life into that curious little gadget
with some help from the developer community. The
company has kicked off what it calls the Open
SmartWatch program to get developers cooking up
custom firmwares for the thing. In case you haven’t been keeping tabs on the
wearable gadgetry space, Sony launched the
SmartWatch in question last year to mixed reviews.
The concept is a very familiar one — the watch syncs
to an Android-powered smartphone and displays
messages and notifications, as well as runs a slew of bespoke SmartWatch apps. Thanks to its Android
underpinnings, you could easily think of it as a more
robust version of the Pebble or any of the copycats
that have sprung up in its wake. As iffy as Sony’s second-gen SmartWatch was, most
of the issues seemed to be rooted in its software (and
to its credit, Sony keeps pushing out patches and
updates for the thing). Sony’s is one of the prettier
smartwatches out there, and the spec list has just
enough oomph to make it an attractive choice for some frenzied late night tinkering. By stripping out
Sony’s work and starting fresh, hackers are largely
left with a blank slate, and the company is committed
to highlighting some of the most novel firmware once
they start popping up. To help kick this whole thing off, Sony has also
tapped Arduino to hold a hackathon in Malmo,
Sweden, to get antsy developers more familiar with
the SmartWatch and what it’s capable of. There is, as
always, a caveat: you may be breaking new ground
with a device that most people haven’t given a second thought to, but you’ll be giving up access to
the nearly 200 or so compatible applications floating
around in the Google Play store.

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