Samsung Galaxy Gear can run regular Android apps too

October 9, 2013
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It may or may not be common knowledge that Samsung's glorified wearable computer is truly an Android device in its own right, running Android 4.2.2. What may not be known, at least until now, is that the Galaxy Gear smartwatch is actually capable of running normal Android apps and even a normal Android launcher.

All that it takes is enabling the USB Debug mode in the Galaxy Gear's settings and connecting the device to a computer via a USB cable on the smartwatch's charging cradle. This will allow users to use the ADB (Android Debug Bridge) program from the Android SDK to install apps from the PC to the smartwatch, provided they have the needed app APK on the PC. Users can also push files such as music and video via ADB. Once done, they can use an Android launcher of their choice, or Samsung's saner launcher customized to take the Gear's screen size into consideration, to access the sideloaded apps such as music and video players or even games like Candy Crush.

samsung-galaxy-gear-regular-apps-2

Of course, there will always be limitations, aside from the display size. First is the fact that the Galaxy Gear runs on a 800 MHz processor with 512 MB of RAM, so one cannot expect blazingly fast speeds or responsive performance across the board, although the 4 GB internal storage might be adequate for a basic selection of apps and media files. Second, there is no way to gain root, at least for now, making it impossible to sideload Google apps such as Gmail, YouTube and the rest. But even if that were possible, it would be useless as the Galaxy Gear has no way to connect to the Internet on its own or even through tethering, making it a purely offline Android device.

That said, the ability to install normal Android apps, bypassing Samsung's extremely limited selection of blessed Galaxy Gear apps, might show a bit of potential for the wearable computer. It will probably be only a matter of time before we hear of some enterprising Android developer out there putting out a novel, creative use for the smartwatch.

SOURCE: Ars Technica


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