Sony opens up for alternative Smartwatch firmware with Open SmartWatch Project


I have Sony’s MN2 smartwatch, and while it definitely has some issues, it’s a great accessory to have for my Tasker lifestyle. The thing has been out for a year though, and development for it has more or less halted, with many key apps having been abandoned by their developers. In what I can only interpret as a final attempt at reviving the thing, Sony has now announced the Open SmartWatch Project, opening up for developers to create their own firmware for the watch.

Sony’s pages list a lot of information about the risks involved, which is basically just standard disclaimers. In a nutshell, Sony has opened the watch up for developers to create their own firmware, as long as they and the users accept that the watch is no longer Sony’s problem if they do. The custom firmware appears to be incompatible with the standard apps for connecting and pushing content to the watch though, so this seems like something that would require a completely new back end to be written for the watch, not just firmware for the watch itself.

I have a feeling that this project is inspired by the OpenLiveView project for the original smartwatch from Sony, the LiveView. Without any support from Sony, some clever people were able to reverse-engineer enough of the LiveView to get it running without any Sony software, which is quite a feat. Hopefully that means there’s community interest in creating something similar for the MN2, as the kind of skills required to reverse engineer something could really do some amazing things when the documentation is actually available.

I’m curious to see what comes out of this, but also cautious. The only reason I have an MN2 is an app that allows me to put standard Android widgets on it, an app that hasn’t been updated in a year. For any sort of custom firmware to be an option for me, it would have to replicate that functionality. Either way though, I’m glad Sony did this, as it might just bring more people to the watch.

[Sony] Thanks, Wes!

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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