Sideloading brings app diversity to Galaxy Gear smartwatch (with a few catches)
A lot of words come to mind when describing Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch, but perhaps one of the most appropriate would be “limited.” You’re limited by extremely strict device compatibility, limited by meager battery life, and limited by the selection of apps Samsung’s provided. In the past, we’ve seen developers tinker with smartwatches to expand upon what they can do, and just like with some of those past efforts, regular old Android apps can now be loaded on the Galaxy Gear.
It’s not the most convenient process in the world, but it’s straightforward enough. While the Galaxy Gear’s UI doesn’t give users the option to directly sideload apps of their choosing, all they have to do is enable USB debugging, hook the watch up to a PC, fire up ADB, and sideload via command line.
In the watch’s unrooted state, Google apps aren’t running, and there’s no internet connectivity available to apps, but the important thing is that this works at all.
Not all apps function as well as others (or at all), and the connectivity issue seriously limits the usefulness of this endeavor, but the idea of packing the watch with a few games that will work just fine without the internet sounds pretty nice to us, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see compatibility get better (and maybe for someone to even hack together some Bluetooth tethering) as devs continue to experiment with the Galaxy Gear.