Sony Smart Watch Observations

I have been using the new SmartWatch for the past week or I have been quite impressed with it (especially after their dreadful prior version 1.0 LiveView watch that was not ready for consumer use). It still doesn’t fully replace my MetaWatch (nor do I expect it will ever) The modular design of the SmartWatch allows both to be worn on the same strap! 🙂

I use both watches with the Galaxy Note. The Sony native email app doesn’t work with the note. Hence I have had to modify their samples for my own purposes:

The app currently does the following:

  • provide a generic notification mechanism (sender/message via intent parameters) that can be used to display push notifications of emails. I currently use it with K9/Tasker and Touchdown/Tasker.

 

  • provide location based real-time traffic camera images (triggered by a Tasker task). I have it set up to automatically send my watch the latest camera view at specific times of the day (if I am at work). This requires my Augmented Traffic Views app to also be loaded (as it dips into it’s database).

 

The MetaWatch still provides the following advantages over the SmartWatch:

  • Always on display – the SmartWatch must be tapped to show its display when in standby mode. Notifications only (automatically) show a small icon on the display. I believe this is one method that enables the SmartWatch to achieve significantly improved battery life (over its predecessor).
  • Geo-located weather (while this is more software related, it is a current advantage).
  • Battery life indicator of the Phone on the display.
  • Indicator of my next scheduled meeting on the display (along with details).
  • “Hands-free’ Integration with Augmented Traffic Views while driving.
  • These aspects are all still key to keep the MetaWatch in daily use.
That said, the SmartWatch does offer the following advantages over the Metawatch:
  • The music control app is easier to use.
  • The SmartWatch retains a memory of the last 100 notifications (for browsing later on). The MetaWatch only displays the notifications, it doesn’t retain them in memory.
  • The inherent ability to display color images.
  • The ability to control the routing of an incoming voice call (this may be available in the MetaWatch once the software is revised I believe)
  • The ability to dynamically control the phone (based on context/app via a 3-menu option)

Other notes:

  • I have been able to connect both the SmartWatch and MetaWatch to the same Android device with no issues.

For those that want to use my app to get real-time email (or any notifications) :

Here is the intent info:

Intent Action: com.sonyericsson.extras.liveware.extension.notificationsample.action.add

Parameters:

sender: **whatever you want ** (use %EFROM if using K9 within Tasker or use “genesys” to tell the app to try to find the sender in the subject field typically combined with setting subject to %NTITLE)

subject: ** whatever you want **(typically it would be %NTITLE within Tasker if grabbing a generic notification or %ESUBJ if using K9 as supported within Tasker)

Note in Tasker – the parameters would be “extras” and the Intent is a service (target)

If you want to use the traffic camera feature, you need to use the above referenced version of ATV:

To trigger the auto update of the camera feed use the following Tasker Task:

1) Call Intent: com.alk.augmentedRE.SmartWatch

with Parameter SmartWatch:1 (in the extra field) and set as a Activity Target Intent

2)  Wait for 1 minute

3) Call Intent: com.sonyericsson.extras.liveware.extension.notificationsample.action.add

with Parameter subject:alktraffic and sender: alktraffic  (in the two extra fields) and set as Activity (Service Target)

When looking at the traffic cam picture on the SmartWatch there will be 3 options presented:

a) Open on Phone: Ability to show the latest traffic cam view on the Android device connected to;

b) Closest Cam: To trigger another request for the closest traffic camera to your current location (that is in the ATV database)

c) Refresh: A refresh of the image currently being viewed on the SmartWatch

You could bypass the ATV generated image and provide your own image instead to quickly test out the ability to send any picture to your SmartWatch (e.g. if your security camera detects motion and uploads an image to a server on the internet)

You will still need to trigger the SmartWatch Notify app via the ‘alktraffic’ parameter to the Intent as described above.

Find a way to place the image on the local root of the external storage card which is resolved via    File(Environment.getExternalStorageDirectory()+”/bayview.jpg”

You may need to experiment with the resolution that displays well on the SmartWatch (perhaps 92 x 92)

Put two lines in the following file :

File(Environment.getExternalStorageDirectory()+”/alk9.txt”);

Line 1 – a description of the image (that will be displayed on the SmartWatch)

Line 2 – a URL to use to refresh the image on the Android device (if user selected)

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19 thoughts on “Sony Smart Watch Observations

  1. I’m buying a smartwatch for my Galaxy Note and I was all gussied up to buy the Sony until I heard of this Metawatch. My priority is remote music control. Which watch would you suggest? Also, are you testing with the Int’l version of the Note or the Bell LTE version?

    • Sony for music control on the GN (LTE version) especially if you will use the stock music player as you will get cover art and song/artist info on the watch. Metawatch will work but not as elegantly. With other music players the controls work from the Sony, but there is no cover art or title/artist info.

      I’m using the Rogers LTE version of the Note.

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  6. I must be missing something. I have a SmartWatch with the latest firmware and all it’s associated software. Everything is working great. I have Tasker working fine but I cant make the watch do ANYTHING by sending to:
    com.sonyericsson.extras.liveware.extension.notificationsample.action.add

    Do you need to install some other software to make this work?

    I’m setting Extra1 to sender:foo and Extra2 to subject:bar (literally). My target is set to “service”. I have Tasker sending this test event when I put the phone facedown on the table. I know the event is triggering but the phone is doing nothing.

  7. Ryan – check to see if the “active” checkbox is checked (enabled).
    Liveware->application&settings->ATV SmartWatch->ATV SmartWatchSettings->Active checkbox should be enabled.

  8. Yes, ATV SmartWatch is active. I downloaded the “Special version of Augmented Traffic Views” as posted on THIS page. Do I also need the actual app “Augmented Traffic Views” from the market installed as well?

    • No you don’t need ATV. I believe there may be a conflict on your specific device. Did you by chance load any of the sample Sony apps from their SDK?

      • I didn’t load any sample apps from Sony site, but it seems maybe your program is a slightly modified clone of the sample using the original namespace (notificationsample)? Maybe some of the other apps I downloaded took the same approach and now conflict. Would disabling all apps but yours temporarily fix a conflict, or would the conflicting apps need to be removed instead? BTW, are you willing to share your sourcecode?

  9. I figured it out. I had your “traffic camera” smartwatch plugin installed as well. When I took that out, it started working. Now, for my next battle… Tasker can’t detect KIK Messenger receiving a message or it’s notification.

    • For tasker ensuring that it is enabled under settings->accessibility should allow it to intercept any message going to the notification bar assuming KIK messenger puts stuff in the notification bar.

      I use IMO. Here’s a tip
      Set sender:im and subject:%NTITLE for messenger notifications to get a more generic messenger like image upon these notifications.

      I run both apps (traffic and the alerts) in parallel on the same watch so it is strange that you are getting a conflict (unless you are running a very old version of one of these apps).
      Hope you get it working.

    • Yes the ALKalert1.apk is derived from the SDK sample and I didn’t spend the time to clean it up as yet. Hence that is why I haven’t put it on the market (as it may conflict). In terms of the source code, it isn’t really much and I do honestly think the other notification apps on the market are better in general.

      The only thing this one does is the customization of images and tweaking I have done for my personal use cases.

      My current long on-going challenge is how to get Exchange emails subject/sender piped to the watch. I use TouchDown and it only puts this info on the first new email. Thereafter the only info is the message count. I want it for every email regardless. Roadsync is the only true exchange email Android app that does this for every email, but it is quite unstable and not dependable for everyday use. K9 also does this but it doesn’t have true Exchange support.

      I do have an idea to simulate a TTS engine which Touchdown will use (since it has a TTS option for every new email), hence the simulated TTS engine would then pass the subject/sender to my Intent to display on the watch, but I haven’t had a chance to do this. I believe there is at least one open source TTS engine that I could use to do this, but I have had the time to do this.

      • Its funny you mention the problem with Touchdown only showing info about the 1st new mail. I had the exact same problem with GOOD (similar to Touchdown). I ended up with a very dirty solution. I leave Thunderbird mail client on at work 24/7. I added a Thunderbird plugin which lets me call an executable on each new mail. I use wget to call the api from livenotifier.net (free) and it works exactly like I want!

        The problem with KIK is that its notifications do not cause any text to show in the status line at the top of the screen but it DOES show text in the notification area when you swipe down on the homescreen. Can Tasker access this text?

  10. Cool solution with livenotifier. I will actually look into that for something else I am working on. I did see that app on the market, but didn’t really pay attention to it. Now I will investigate it more.

    I am not aware of any way to get access to that portion of the notification area. I also looked into this to find a way to intercept Google Navigation directions (to pipe onto my watch while walking). I couldn’t find a way unfortunately. It is interesting how we are trying to leverage notifications in a manner that the original app developers may not have envisioned. It would only take a slight modification on their side to allow us to integrate with Smart Watches for more compelling use cases.

    For KIK, perhaps email them and ask them to consider doing a Tasker plug-in or modifying how they do notifications. K9 did this with tasker I believe. They are based out of Waterloo (same as the Pebble team originally). I would imagine as the Pebble gets closer to shipping they will be more motivated to support SmartWatches via standard notifications that could be more easily sent to Pebble/Sony/Metawatch, etc.

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