Sony’s SmartWatch has custom firmware in its future, as company opens it up to developers

smartwatch-de-sonyCheck out our review of the Sony SmartWatch 2 watch.

Launched last year, Sony’s SmartWatch, one of the least hideous examples of the new tech craze, has struggled to find an audience, however that may change in the near future. The company has announced it has opened up the device to developers, and is actively encouraging them to write custom firmware for it.

Developers could write applications for the SmartWatch already, but by opening up the OS, we could see some radical changes to the wrist worn gadget. In case the SmartWatch has passed you by, here’s a reminder of its specs. The little OLED screen measures 1.3-inches and has a 128 x 128 pixel resolution, which may sound basic, but it is color, unlike the E Ink Sonostar we saw recently. It’s powered by an ARM Cortex M3 processor made by STMicroelectronics, and has Bluetooth connectivity.

The SmartWatch runs a modified version of Android, which makes the thought of custom firmware even more interesting, and once connected to your phone, reads SMS, email, tweets and Facebook notifications, plus it can answer or reject calls, and control the music player. At 26 grams and 8mm thick, it’s suitably slim and light.

Of course, anyone keen to start cooking up some new software for the SmartWatch will understand it’ll void the warranty on the device, and once the firmware has been altered, all of the apps already available for it through Google Play – nearly 200 at last count – will no longer be compatible. However, should one of the established groups which creates custom ROMs for Android phones feel like having a go at the watch, we’re sure this won’t affect it it in the long run.

We’re still expecting a wave of smartwatches from most major manufacturers, including Samsung, Google, and Microsoft. Apple’s example, which is one of the most enduring rumors, was last said to be arriving late next year though, and as you can buy Sony’s SmartWatch, and the Pebble, right now; this is exactly the type of move which could see them become more popular before more competition arrives.

Product Review

Fitbit’s trimmed-down Versa Lite still has all the smartwatch features you need

Fitbit trimmed some of the features it bundles in its popular Versa smartwatch to keep the price low on it newest smartwatch, the Versa Lite. Does this strategy work? Read our review to find out.
Wearables

Fossil is working on a smartwatch with BMW, and it’s coming next year

Fossil, the watch company that makes smartwatches under its own name and partners with other major brands too, intends to launch a smartwatch with car manufacturer BMW in the future.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for March 2019

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Mobile

Rooting your Android device is risky. Do it right with our handy guide

Wondering whether to root your Android smartphone or stick with stock Android? Perhaps you’ve decided to do it and you just need to know how? Here, you'll find an explanation and a quick guide on how to root Android devices.
Mobile

The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G might be a few short weeks away from launch

Samsung has announced a whopping four new Galaxy S10 devices, from the low-cost S10e to the triple-camera S10 and S10 Plus. But it's the Galaxy S10 5G that steals the show as it's among the first 5G-ready smartphones to hit the market.
Computing

T-Mobile goes after big cable companies, pilots wireless home internet service

In a shot at big cable companies, T-Mobile is launching a new pilot program to bring an unlimited wireless LTE home internet service to up to 50,000 homes across the United States by the end of 2019.
Mobile

Apple patent suggests Apple Watch bands could have built-in fitness indicators

Apple may be exploring ways to make Apple Watch bands a little more useful. A new patent has been filed by Apple that suggests Apple Watch bands could eventually have indicators for things like fitness goals.
Mobile

Type away on the best iPad keyboard cases, from the Mini to the Pro

Whether you're looking to replace your laptop with a tablet or merely want to increase your typing speed, a physical iPad keyboard is the perfect companion to the iPad. Check out our top picks for every available iPad model.
Mobile

Apple patents hint at improved Apple Store and unboxing experiences

It looks like Apple is working on ways to improve the Apple Store and product unboxing experiences. The company has been awarded a few patents, largely for tech that can be used in product packaging to ensure products stay charged.
Wearables

Fossil made a smartwatch in 2004, and it’s part of a new brand retrospective

Fossil has been making watches for 35 years, and to celebrate the anniversary, it has a new retrospective exhibit complete with the first smartwatch it made — the Wrist Net watch from 2004.
Social Media

A Facebook, Instagram bug exposed millions of passwords to its employees

Facebook, Facebook Lite, and Instagram passwords weren't properly encrypted and could be viewed by employees, the company said Thursday. The network estimates millions of users were affected.
Mobile

Nokia phones are being investigated for allegedly sending data to China

Nokia could be in some hot water. According to recent reports, Nokia 7 models may be secretly sending data to China without the user knowing about it. Nokia says that the issue was a software bug and that it has been fixed.
Mobile

Diesel’s denim-inspired smartwatch straps are a casual, colorful must-own

Diesel will release two new versions of the On Full Guard 2.5 smartwatch later this year, with seriously cool, denim-inspired straps in classic Diesel colors. We tried them on at the Baselworld 2019 show.
Movies & TV

Apple’s next big event is set for March 25: Here’s what you can expect

Apple's next big event takes place on March 25 in Cupertino, California. The company is expected to make several announcements related to its services, including Apple TV, so follow our guide to get ready for the big event.