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Sony hits back at Apple iWatch and Pebble with project Open SmartWatch

While Pebble and the rumoured Apple iWatch are getting all the attention these days, Sony is looking to bring its own SmartWatch gadget back into the spotlight.

The Japanese tech giant has launched a new experimental project, dubbed Open SmartWatch, making it possible for developers to create and flash alternative firmware to its high-tech timepiece. Developers have for some time been able to create apps for the SmartWatch, but this is the first time Sony has opened up the device more broadly.

"If you're an advanced developer, you can now take control of SmartWatch as a hardware peripheral in new ways by creating and flashing your own alternative firmware," according to a post on Sony's Developer World page. "Currently, there are no alternative firmware versions for SmartWatch, but we hope that that the Open SmartWatch project will inspire and make it possible for you to create new innovations."

As part of the effort, Sony has released a hacker guide, which provides technical information and instructions for how to flash the SmartWatch, as well as information about the display, Bluetooth, peripherals, touch sensor protocols, and more.

Sony warned, however, that creating alternative firmware is not for novice developers, as it may void a user's warranty.

"Normal consumers are strongly advised to keep the official tested and verified Sony firmware," the company said. "You may permanently destroy it by [hacking your SmartWatch], so you shouldn't do it unless you are completely sure of what you do."

Make sure to read the Important Information section on the Open SmartWatch Project page before getting started.