Rooting a Motorola Actv (Android wristwatch)

[Chris'] family made the mistake of giving him a hackable Christmas gift. We’d bet they didn’t see much of him for the rest of the day as he set about rooting this Android wristwatch.

This thing has some pretty powerful hardware under the hood. It’s sporting an OMAP3 processor running at 600 MHz along with 256 MB of RAM. [Chris] needed to get his hands on a firmware image in order to look for security holes. He found a way to spoof the update application in order to intercept an upgrade image from the Internet.

He dumped the firmware locations and got to work searching for a way to exploit the device. Details are a bit scarce about want exactly he did, but you can download his modified image, letting you root your own Motorola Actv using the Android Debug Bridge.

We’ve embedded a demo video after the break. The OS is pretty snappy on the tiny device. We’re not sure what will come of this functionality, but we assume [Chris] was really only interested in the challenge of rooting process itself.

Comments

  1. ferdie says:

    cool hack but angry birds on a screen like that its way to tinny to play. i think you must make a custom binary clock

    have the watch sound on board or a micro jack.

  2. insapio says:

    Ouch, starting at $249?

  3. AllThatJazz says:

    Just add a camera and you’d have a Dick Tracy wrist tv!

  4. XiuiX says:

    I would load OnLive it would be cool to watch arena Games.

  5. Is there any reason why one cant seem to buy this anywhere apart from the Motorola website? Also who are they kidding with the £250 price tag! Im on the waiting list for an I’M watch.

  6. ThinktTanker says:

    The wireless chip-set supports packet injection, soft-AP, ad some additional draft N protocols.

    It can sniff packets, hell yes! ;-o

    Bluetooth as well!

  7. ferdinand says:

    a camera yes it can here you can buy a toy call spy watch it have a cam bild in and you can put a snake cam on it this is that cheap toy

    http://www.intertoys.nl/speelgoed/actiefiguren-spy-net-video-horloge-577993.html

  8. Andrew says:

    Use the macro function on your camera.

    Srsly.

  9. Why not just get a Wimm? Its this form factor and runs Android with installable apps.

    • CampGareth says:

      Smaller screen (1 inch on the Wimm versus 1.6 on the ACTV)? Higher price tag (an extra $50)?

      Personally I wouldn’t buy either. I’m too fond of my high res screens, GSM modules and keyboards for that but if the price tag were lower I could see these replacing those Bluetooth vibrating wristbands which are overpriced iirc.

  10. A Kiwi says:

    From the summary: “We’d bet they didn’t see much of him for the rest of the day as he set about rooting this Android wristwatch.”

    I know this has probably been said a hundred times before in response to these kind of articles, but in New Zealand / Australian slang to “root” something means to have sex with it.

    So now I have this mental picture of this guy hiding in his room shagging his wristwatch whilst the rest of the family are having Christmas dinner…

    • Punkguyta says:

      Actually, I can attest to the fact that I don’t think anyone has made this remark but you. Strange, but odd, I think somebody bullshitted you when you were raised however if you believe “root” is slang for sex, even if it is of some screwed up Australian origin.

      • An Aussie says:

        Actually, as an Aussie, I too get strange mental images when I hear of someone rooting something — its a common expression for sex around here.

        The latest thing that catches me off-guard is when someone talks about ‘root’ effects in Role Playing Games, eg. (‘Help, I’ve been rooted!)

    • Phil says:

      I know I’m late to the party but since Mike Harding (in his comedic days) could be referenced I had to. I forget which of his records it was but he made one in the 70s that had a lot about problems with British/Australian translation. “Root” was one of them, along with the fact that “Durex” is a condom brand in the UK but a maker of sticky tape in Oz. Well worth a listen.

  11. Stu says:

    Just what is the point of rooting Android anymore?
    Since v2 a lot of the reasons people cite for doing it are doable anyway- 3G tethering, multitouch, installing apps to SD card, putting on OS features the manufacturers omitted (none), installing non-marketplace apps, other keyboards (mine has Swype and is perfect), overclocking (potentially shortening the life of the cpu, no thanks), etc, etc, etc.
    Apart from the whole nerd driven, ‘just cos you can’ argument, Im not sold any more, plus does it not open up your handset to various vulnerabilities, and apps or OS builds that are malware infested!?
    I can see more of a point on devices like this watch, which probably offers little from the get go, but modern 2.3 onward phones? Nope.
    Im open to being swayed back, but it has to be a good reason, or two.

    • Jimbo says:

      Would you use your desktop if you were not in complete control over it? Rooting your phone gives you the freedom to do what you want with the hardware that you paid for. As the OSs on these devices grow more complex, I think it will become easier for the carrier to take advantage of the end-user if we are not careful (e.g., CarrierIQ). Having root access simply transfers the control of your device from the carrier to you. I suppose there’s also a small “because it’s neat” factor in it, but isn’t that what this entire website is dedicated to?

      As to whether rooting a phone increases vulnerabilities, I don’t think that would be a problem. The user must consent to a program having root access, the same as how it’s done on the desktop.

  12. scompo says:

    wow, pretty expensive..
    by the way, horrible name, in italy it’s the bus service of venice! pure hate!

  13. Gdogg says:

    The price makes sense.. Android phones are only cheaper because the provider subsidizes the prices when you sign a longer contract, otherwise you’re paying $500+

  14. alex says:

    I have HTC Desire and was thinking of rooting my phone for few reasons:
    – 2.2 does not have web proxy settings (I was not offered to upgrade to 2.3 or newer) and sometimes I need it
    – upgrading apps that came with the phone (gmail, google maps, adobe flash …) keeps old versions (as they are part of ROM) and also takes up space for new versions – so even with moving stuff you can to SD, it’s not enough.
    – screenshots

    And of course the “I hacked it” factor :)

  15. jorghe1025 says:

    I wonder if it can run Android Wear…

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