Android Wear apps have just started flowing last week, but that might be reduced to a trickle due to a bug that prevents paid apps from being installed on smartwatches. Google has finally responded to the issue, providing developers with a workaround while waiting for an official fix to be released.
As previously summarized, the main cause of the problem is that the Android Wear installer doesn’t know how to extract and read and Android Wear APK that is stored inside a regular Android paid app. This is primarily due to the App Encryption mechanism that Google implemented to help curb piracy, Unfortunately, it is also curbing the adoption of Android Wear app purchases.
Normally, app developers would make use of the Android Studio IDE’s automated feature to package an Android Wear app inside a regular Android app, but since that isn’t working right now, developers will have to do things manually for a while, an option that has actually been available to them from the beginning, in case they didn’t want to use Android Studio. For this particular bug, the workaround involves putting the Android Wear APK inside the res/raw/ folder instead of the assets/ folder indicated by Google’s documentation. They also have to adjust some of the files manually to reflect this change. Once completed, everything should work with paid Android Wear apps as they do for free apps.
Of course this isn’t a proper fix and Google has no qualms admitting that it is a temporary workaround. They will be updating the IDE and the documentation to reflect this new location for embedding Android Wear APKs. Hopefully, developers can now jump in using the manual route without fear of having the rug pulled from under them again. But for those who want to be extra cautious, they might want to wait for the official fix to arrive, hopefully sooner rather than later.