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

galaxy gear can run lots of android apps with a little tinkering app

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.

Deals

REI slashes prices on Suunto, Garmin, and Fitbit Versa smartwatches

Though fitness trackers and smartwatches can get pretty pricey, REI is offering some sweet discounts on top brands. Right now, you can get a new smartwatch from Fitbit, Suunto, and Garmin for up to 35 percent off its normal price.
Home Theater

Want to mirror your smartphone or tablet onto your TV? Here's how

A vast arsenal of devices exists to allow sending anything on your mobile device to your TV. Our in-depth guide shows you how to mirror content from your smartphone or tablet to the big screen from virtually any device available.
Mobile

Android vs. iOS: Which smartphone platform is the best?

If you’re trying to choose a new phone and you’re not sure about the merits and pitfalls of the leading smartphone operating systems, then come on in for a detailed breakdown as we pit Android vs. iOS in various categories.
Deals

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.
Mobile

Is this the first image of a Galaxy S10 being used in real life?

It won't be long now; With 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.
Mobile

Do these Geekbench results accurately represent the Moto G7?

The Moto G6 range is still relatively new to the market, but rumors have already started about the Moto G7, which is expected some time in 2019. Apparently, a G7 Power version will be joining the G7, G7 Play, and G7 Plus.
Wearables

Omron HeartGuide brings blood pressure monitoring to your wrist

High blood pressure leads to heart attacks, strokes, and many other health problems, so it's important to keep an eye on. Omron's HeartGuide is a fitness tracking watch that can also monitor your blood pressure from your wrist.
Mobile

Learn how to play YouTube in the background on iOS and Android

We show you how to play YouTube in the background with apps such as Opera, Chrome, and Firefox -- along with the premium offerings like YouTube Premium -- whether you have an Android or iOS device.
Mobile

Verizon’s deal could get you a free iPhone XR — but there’s some fine print

Verizon launched a new deal for its smartphones aimed at encouraging customers to open a new line. If you're willing and you want two new phones, you could get a free Samsung Galaxy S9, iPhone XR, or Pixel 3.
Mobile

Get $100 discount on the Razer Phone 2 for a limited time

The Razer Phone 2 is finally here, and it's got upgraded specs, that super-smooth 120Hz display, and an updated design. Here's absolutely everything you need to know about the Razer Phone 2.
Business

Google is buying mysterious smartwatch tech from The Fossil Group for $40 million

Google is about to step up its smartwatch game. The company has agreed to buy an unnamed smartwatch technology from The Fossil Group for a hefty $40 million. Considering the acquisition, it's clear Google is serious about smartwatches.
Social Media

Here’s how to save someone’s Instagram Story to your phone

Curious about how to save someone's Instagram Story to your phone? Lucky for you, it can be done -- but it does take a few extra steps. Here's what you need to know to save Instagram Stories on both iOS and Android.
Mobile

5G phones make a lot of promises. Here’s what to really expect

There has been a lot of marketing copy expounding the potential benefits of 5G networks, but a lot less on the practical implications of 5G smartphones. There's a reason for that.
Mobile

Here’s how to download podcasts and listen to them on Android or iOS

Podcasts have become a cultural staple. Here's how to download podcasts and listen to them on your Android or iOS device, and which apps to use if you're looking to get the most out of the format.