Galaxy Gear can run lots of regular Android apps, with a little tinkering

If you’re the tinkering type and have a Galaxy Gear strapped to your being, then for you, Christmas has come early.

If you’re yet to fall head-over-heels in love with your Samsung-made smartwatch, indeed, if the bonding process is far from complete, then a little gentle fiddling with the wrist-based tech may see your relationship flourish in ways you could never have imagined.

For did you know you can run regular Android apps on your diminutive device? It’s true – available to you are many of the apps available to your Galaxy Note 3, though beware, your eyeballs may detach from their respective optic nerves should you squint too hard while playing a game of Candy Crush on your very small screen.

You’ve got talented Ars Technica tinkerer Ron Amadeo to thank for this development. Through a short series of relatively straightforward steps, beginning with the checking of the ‘USB debug’ box in the watch’s settings, Amadeo found a way to sideload a number of regular apps onto his Gear.

gear apps

Running Android 4.2.2 with an 800MHz processor and 512MB of RAM, the watch is no slouch and appears able to comfortably handle most of what Amadeo throws at it, with possibly only the most demanding of apps having any chance of causing a full-on component meltdown, with a bit of wrist-burn thrown in for good measure.

Of course, it’s not a perfect set up – widgets don’t work and it can’t access the Internet by itself, which of course counts out a large number of apps.

But there’s still some enjoyment to be had. The demonstration video below shows Amadeo using CyanogenMod’s Apollo music app to “blast MP3s out of the crappy little speaker” as well as playing a game of the aforementioned Candy Crush. Finally, he uses MX Player to play a sequence from the final episode of Breaking Bad – so go careful if you haven’t watched it yet.

“While the Gear is still not terribly useful with sideloaded apps, it is fun to play with for a few minutes,” Amadeo writes, adding, “Many may see this silly side project and ask ‘why bother?’ I’d say it’s much more fun to ask ‘why not?’” Indeed, “why not” could lead to increased Gear functionality, or an unexpected trip to the optometrist.

To find out more about how to sideload regular Android apps onto your Samsung smartwatch, watch the video below or head over to here for more detailed information.

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