Cyrillic (and other language) support for the Pebble Watch

The stock firmware of the Pebble Watch only seems to support English and other western languages out of the box. As I sometimes receive messages and notifications in Cyrillic, it was annoying that these were not displayed correctly (i.e. all the unknown characters were replaced by a rectangle)

On the Pebble site itself there is nothing mentioned on how this can be enabled, so it looks like it is not supported out of the box. Fortunately the smart people of PebbleBits have found a way around this and offer modified firmware versions with support for additional character sets and also a small number of other patches. They state clearly that their site is not operated by or affiliated with Pebble in any way but it offers a very interesting Firmware Generator, which offers support for a number of language sets:

  • Symbols, Emoji
  • Latin-based: English, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish
  • Cyrillic: Belarusian, Kazakh, Macedonian, Russian, Ukrainian
  • Other: Greek, Hebrew, Thai, Vietnamese

For modern firmwares (v2.5+) there seems to be sufficient place to add a number of languages, older firmware versions have some limitations. In addition to adding characters, it is also possible to apply a number of patches to the firmware itself:

  • Disable default watchfaces
  • Disable default main menu entries
  • Display phone number instead of contact name on incoming call
  • Additional quick launch options for apps
  • Change buttons layout of stock Music app (my favorite as it adds the option to control the volume)
  • Translate the interface to a another language

After the selection is made, the custom firmware can be downloaded. This should be done from a smartphone that is connected to the Pebble watch, the site works great on a mobile phone, but also provides a QR code that can be scanned by the phone to download the firmware. The installation is seamlessly done by opening the file with the Pebble app, which guides you through the process.

So far I have noticed that the watch works fine with the patched firmware and supports (in my case) Cyrillic notifications perfectly now.

For reference: here is a  link to the configuration I use.

Got a Pebble watch from Дед Мороз

pebble_watchLooks like Дед Мороз did not want me to completely get rid of Pebble as he brought me a Pebble Smart Watch for New Year!

The Pebble Watch is already on the market for quite some time and well supported by iPhone and Android applications. I will probably need some time to really find out what it can do, the notifications and music control are already nice features on top of being a nice watch. I know that Runkeeper also supports it, so something to check out the next time I go out for a run.

Once caveat I already found is that it does not support all characters in notifications out of the box and Cyrillic does not seem to be supported at all… something to dive into.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2015Happy New Year and best wishes for 2015!

A new fresh year and wish you all the best for 2015, let it be a great year in which things only get better again for all.

As you can see also a new fresh website for my blog. I have moved over to WordPress as it suited my needs better and allowed me to simplify my setup (as I am hosting it myself).  During the course of last year I ran into small problems and issues with my setup of the Pebble blogging software I used. I still think Pebble was a great platform when I started using it a long time ago. There have hardly been any updates to the platform, which did not really bother me from a functional perspective, but did make me wonder whether there are really no security issues with it (or that they were just not found & fixed as it has a very small usage footprint). Besides the anti-spam mechanisms it had turned out not to work so I ended up manually removing spam comments just too often. Last but not least it required too much system resources as it requires a Java Servlet container that I do not need for anything else (anymore).

Therefore I decided last year to migrate my own and a few other blogs I host to a single WordPress 4 Network Instance. Migration was not flawless and I am still in the process of migrating the articles from last year (doing that manually) so expect some more content to be added the coming days/weeks. The design is still quite basic, I will clean that up once I find the time for that.

Let 2015 be a very good and productive year!