back to article Sony allows hacking of its unloved SmartWatch

Sony has opened the code for its SmartWatch and will allow developers to write their own firmware for the Android-powered device. Sony's watch uses Bluetooth to connect to Android devices and sucks information from them so its 128x128 pixel screen can display nuggets of information like the arrival of new TXT messages or Tweets …

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Sony's hacker's guide

Does it explain how to install a rootkit on it?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sony's hacker's guide

I guess you don't have to - theirs comes pre-installed and is protected by DRM..

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Pint

Re: Sony's hacker's guide

Someone mentioned Sony, some incredible wit mentioned rootkits.

Yep, that's on my El Reg drinking game. *Glug*

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Sorry Sony

But like a feral cat, every time I think you're friendly, you suddenly turn on me.

That's why I'm not getting a PS4, and couldn't care less about your watch.

The last time you "opened up" a device, you dumped it as soon as it had a following.

I remember Aibo, and you didn't earn any brownie points with me for being less evil than MS this time.

"We'll let you trade and sell your games like you always could, but now we charge you full time to play online. We're the GOOD GUYS! HUZZAH!"

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Thumb Down

Sony to world + dog

"Look guys, we're embracing open source now too. Are we cool now? All forgiven?"

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Bronze badge

Re: Sony to world + dog

Just like how they embraced open source on the PS3 by allowing us to install linux on it, and then update it so we werent allowed to any more.

Sony, thy name is arsehat.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sony to world + dog

Yup. It's not that I needed the feature that much, but the fact that I get sold a feature in marketing and then have it withdrawn later for what was at best a spurious excuse is like buying a car with allow wheels and get it back with steel rims after a service. Screw that.

So, in the end I stopped buying Sony. Given my buying pattern, that has costed them for me alone already well over £10k in sales. Maybe small, but it only takes a group of people to do this to cause a dip in figures.

Back to the topic, thus: no thanks. Not even remotely interested. If I want that (and that's a big "if") it'll probably be a Pebble.

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These things don't run android

they are companion devices for android. You load apps from your android device, hence the stuff in the market.

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Re: These things don't run android

They are VERY SLOW companion devices for anroid.

There, I fixed it for you (Yes, I have one - and I didn't buy it retail, they show up unloved and very cheap on Ebay fairly regularly)

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Flame

Re: These things don't run android

Oh yes - they're also a bitch to actually sync up using bluetooth, which is why they end up unloved and unwanted.

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Meh

We're so open we refuse to honour your guarantee

After all, that's much easier than providing a utility to reflash everything back to stock. See also: Same loss of guarantee for Xperias and a half-hearted attempt to put-out the AOSP firmware for Xperia phones.

Mind you, I imagine Sony's internal politics makes Nokia's look positively efficient.

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Trailblazing a pointless device

I think when smart watches all use low energy bluetooth, use standard profiles for bi-directional transfer for things like SMS, bluetooth, location, heart rate / pressure / blood glucose, cycle / pace speed, calories, media info, volume control, TV remote etc. then we'll be in a better place. Then it won't matter what phone you have or the brand of watch, it should "just work".

At the moment virtually all these smart watches are expensive battery sapping gimmicks tied to proprietary apps and platforms through ad hoc data formats.

Apple probably stands the best chance of delivering something since its latest phones already support bluetooth 4.0, as opposed to just some Android and WP handsets making the message clearer. I suspect it will still be proprietary though. That advantage will disappear too if they don't pull their finger out though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Trailblazing a pointless device

In one sentence you complain that existing devices are "tied to proprietary apps and platforms through ad hoc data formats", then in the next sentence you laud Apple. To be fair though, you do acknowledge that their solution will likely be proprietary.

Indeed.

The best hope for a non proprietary open standard is Google, and they don't seem particularly interested in watches.

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Re: Trailblazing a pointless device

"In one sentence you complain that existing devices are "tied to proprietary apps and platforms through ad hoc data formats", then in the next sentence you laud Apple. To be fair though, you do acknowledge that their solution will likely be proprietary."

I didn't laud Apple. I said they stood the best chance of delivering something. Their 4S & 5, iPad 3 & 4, iPad mini devices already support low energy bluetooth and of course being able to control the device OS and the watch means they can deliver a very tight experience. And yes I said it probably would be proprietary - either outright proprietary, or a basic core of standard profiles embraced and extended out of all recognition.

The situation is chequered with Android because even when Google invariably roll out a low energy framework it would probably take a while for new devices to appear that support it. It might even require existing devices with bluetooth 4.0 to get new firmware for one reason or another (e.g. buggy drivers or excessive power consumption).

Which is why I said Apple need to pull their finger out because give it a year and most likely Android 4.3 / 5.0 or whatever will have robust support and an increasing number of devices will support bluetooth 4.0. Then the competitive advantage will be lost.

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Re: Trailblazing a pointless device

Having a watch support standard profiles is still pointless if the carriers (I'm looking at _YOU_ Verizon) disable those profiles in the phones (Not that Apple seem to need much external motivation). About the only way such carriers will ever allow nifty stuff on your watch is if it has to connect to your phone via their network, and you will need to buy a separate data plan for it.

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Anonymous Coward

Give it a rest....

Sony only removed Other OS from the PS3 because some asshole used it to hack the PS3 security, what do you think Sony should have done about it? How many of you actually ever installed Linux on your PS3, bugger all I bet. I use Linux at work and at home, but never felt the need to install it on my PS3.

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Bronze badge

Re: Give it a rest....

Leave the feature in as it was sold with it. Address the security issue separately.

The fact that you didn't use a feature doesn't automatically mean that no one else used it either.

For example the fact that cars come with mirrors doesn't mean everyone uses them. Unfortunately.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Give it a rest....

Removing the option was the address to the security issue, if they had left it, it would just have become an endless war of fix, hack, fix, hack..... I guess Sony thought they had better things to do.

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Re: Give it a rest....

Other OS was not used to the hack the PS3. And despite it being gone the PS3 is totally hacked. If you sell something, it is no longer yours and you have no business removing features from it. It is wrong no matter what the excuse.

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Silver badge

Re: Give it a rest....

OtherOS sadly was only put in the first place so Sony could claim the PS3 was a computer instead of a console and get the lower tariffs. When this failed pretty much worldwide they suddenly lost interest in the "feature". Still goodwill does matter. Its why Sony is 1/5 the size they were a bit over a decade ago. Why they have lost tens of billions total and have been in the red for five years straight. Sony badly needs the PS4 to sell much more like the PS2 than the fail Vita or the hardware side is done (evil media studo side that destroyed the hardware side will live on regardless as spin off etc).

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Anonymous Coward

not a tardis

Judging by Sony's own promotional photos of the watch, not surprisingly the screen is too small to be of much use to the Twiitter and Email app - which is half of the apps it has on its home screen.

But it does seem very effective at telling the time. Well done Sony.

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Trollface

Re: not a tardis

>But it does seem very effective at telling the time. Well done Sony.

Ah the sarcasm was so subtle. You forgot to add the part about how so is the watch your kids (nephew, whatever) got out of the cereal box as well.

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Silver badge

If it's not doing well, most obvious reason is no one's heard of it - I hadn't until now.

Meanwhile, Apple get giving free advertising even for a product that doesn't even get exist, and will get vast amounts if they ever do, even though it comes after the competition. Same thing happened with ipads, which was after the first Android tablets. And then people give the credit to Apple for "popularising"? Meanwhile, other companies only get attention years after their products are released (Samsung for phones, or Android tablets), if ever.

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Holmes

Bawbees and geegaws.

I wanted a Jimmy Olsen smartwatch when I was ten. Then I grew up.

Sony should have made it in conjunction with Swatch. They have a huge fanbase of colourblind taste-free fashion victims to market to in perpetuity.

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