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Long before expensive western smartwatch brands came along, Chinese smartwatches slowly started to be "a thing." Unfortunately, early models were so featureless that I didn't even bother considering buying one. Today you can install watchfaces (you can call it a glorified wallpaper if you want) on smartwatches starting as low as 15 bucks.
To begin with, you'll need a smartwatch with a MediaTek MTK2502/MTK2503 processor, an app called Mediatek Smartdevice and a place to find vxp watchfaces (if you don't want to start by creating one).
So, let's start from the basics:
There are lots of cheap Chinese smartwatches, but not everyone allows you to install a watchface. The ones with a MediaTek MTK2502 or MTK2503 (and respective variants) do, so, that's the ones I'll be focusing on.
I’m gonna make a graph so you can see the difference more clearly.
|Satellite positioning||Support GPS and Polaris positioning||Not supported|
|Ultra low power coprocessor||America PNI company EM7184||Not supported|
|M-sensor Geomagnetic sensor||Supported||Not supported|
|HD camera||Supported||Not supported|
This doesn't mean every 2503 model will have all these features because they are manufacturer dependent.
Other features are the ability to update complications, like step counter, calendar, battery icons, etc.
Most likely, you already have one, but just in case you don't, you can check these out on Amazon:
If you're wondering why should you, let me ask you: Why not? There's some purpose in those. Some you can even insert a SIM card and leave your big smartphone at home or office. While it may not be as easy to use as your phone when making a call or have a very accurate step counter, you can still put them to some use. Besides, some even have GPS and heart rate sensors.
Vxp is a container for the files needed for the watch to display the watchface.
For an analog watchface, it usually has an image for each element of the watchface: the hour hand, the minute hand, the second hand, and a background image.
For a digital watchface, there's an image for each digit, am, pm, and background images.
You can go here: watchoutwearables.com
Before going further, there's one thing you should ALWAYS remember:
NEVER uninstall the watchface you are currently using, as this will temporarily brick your watch.
Most watches only allow you to have up to 10 watchfaces, including the stock ones, so you'll have to manage them within the app.
So, with that in mind, let's go to the Google Play store and download the recommended app:
You can also find it here:
After you download the watchface, you will need to extract it, and then copy all files to the appmanager folder on your smartphone.
Then, just run the app, click My Application and choose which VXP watchface you want to install.
But what if you have some spare time and want to create a watchface yourself?
Let's start by creating an analog watchface.
To do that, these are the apps that you'll need to install:
(Install in the C:\Program Files folder, NOT in the C:\Program Files (x86) . Otherwise, you should not change the default install folder of each app, that way you can avoid running into trouble later on.)
(You can create a system restore point just in case something goes wrong. You can check here if you don't know how to: support.microsoft.com)#1 Download MRE SDK
Once installed, go back to the ads1.2 folder and copy the license.dat file. Then go to the programs , ARM , ADSv1_2 and licenses folder and paste it there. Replace the existing file.#3 Download HxD Hex editor
#6 You can also save these png files to start with. We'll go to the process of creating your first watchface with these examples, and then you can use any images you want:
Although creating watchfaces may seem a little bit complicated (you'll even have to install Visual Basic, a programming language and that may seem too much if you never did that before) I'm breaking it down, step by step, so just take one at a time. Just pay attention and have a little patience. Your first watchface will take you some time, but once you get the hang of it, it'll be much faster, I promise you.
You'll very likely need Photoshop or some other editing software to make little changes on your own watchfaces.
Every picture needs to be exactly 240x240 pixels, except the preview one, which should be 150x150 .
File size should be 30/35kb at most, to avoid any problems later. You can go here to compress them (online):
#1 Open the MRESDKWizard app.
Name: watchface name (ex: porsche ).
Location: choose your desktop folder.
MRE App Version: MRE SDK 2.0
MRE App Style: MRE Application Project(*.vxp)
MRE App Description
Development info: Type your name
App Name: Type your watchface name (ex: porsche ).
#2 Click on Finish. Now there's a folder on your desktop named porsche .
#3 Open the MRELauncher app.
#4 Click on the Open project icon and navigate to your desktop folder, open the porsche folder and double-click on the porsche.vcproj file.
#5 Click on the Settings icon.
#6 Click on Resource, on Transfer image[...] and on the OK button twice.
#7 Click on the Options button.
#8 Click on Advance .
#9 Delete the -g from the Compiler Options . Click on OK twice.
#10 Don't close the MRELauncher app (for now).
#11 Go to your downloaded Resources folder (you have to unzip the Resource.zip file first).
#12 Select the WATCH_res.lst and configtbl.bin files and the pic folder.
#13 Open your desktop porsche folder, then config and then Default folder.
#14 Copy the files and folder to that Default folder.
Note: The pic folder should have your watchface images.
#15 Rename the WATCH_res.lst to porsche_res.lst (remember that porsche may not be your project name).
#16 Edit that file. You can use Notepad++ or the classic windows notepad.
#17 Change every path to your pc equivalent.
You can click on your address bar and then copy the selected text with Ctrl+C .
#18 Save that file.
#19 Go back to the MRELauncher app. Click on the Make button.
If you're getting errors, go back and check if you installed Visual Basic and Visual C++ from the Visual Studio setup and check to see if you copied the right license.dat file to the right folder.
#20 Now you can close the MRELauncher app.
#21 Go to your desktop, open folders porsche and then arm .
#22 Copy your default.vxp file to a new folder in your desktop. You can call it NW (new watchface).
#23 Rename it to porsche.vxp .
#24 Let's get all the other files back. Go back one folder, to your porsche folder on your desktop and then go to config , default and pic . Copy the preview.png file to your new folder NW .
#25 Rename it to porsche.png .
#26 Go back to your downloaded Resources folder and copy the watch.xml file to your new folder NW .
#27 Rename it to porsche.xml . Your new folder should look something like this:
#28 Open the HxD app.
#29 Open the recently renamed porsche.vxp from the NW folder.
#30 Search for
32 00 00 00 04 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
and replace it with
34 00 00 00 04 00 00 00 01 00 00 00
You can do that by pressing Ctrl+R or go to the Search menu and then Replace . Then click on the Hex-values tab.
Save your file.
#31 Now go to your porsche.xml file and edit it. You can use Notepad++ or the classic windows notepad app.
#32 You should change the text in these fields <appname>, <receiver_id>, <vxpname>, and <iconname> to match your watchfaces files:
- WATCH NAME to porsche ;
- watch to porsche ;
- WATCHNAME.vxp to porsche.vxp ;
- WATCHNAME to porsche .
#33 Save your file.
That's it. You now have all 3 files you need (you can delete the porsche.vxp.bak ). You already know what to do with them, but just in case you forgot, you can go to the beginning of this article and read the How do I install them? section.
I hope you didn't find these instructions too hard or confuse to follow. You can leave a message below if you need any assistance and I'll try to help as soon and as much as I can, but if you follow these instructions step by step, you should get there on your own.
By now you should be ready to make your own watchfaces. It should take you much less time from now on.
You can use the comments section below to share your new watchfaces. I'm sure soemone else would like to give them a try.
Please, don't leave with any unanswered questions because I may have an answer, and we'll probably be helping someone else too. Just leave them in a comment below or send me an email and I'll be glad to help.