FOR ANYONE who thought that the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch was just too limited, and that what it really needed was the ability to let you play Candy Crush Saga with just one fingernail, the hacking community has done it again.
Arstechnica reported that it found a way of sideloading apps to the Samsung device, including launchers, giving an almost native Android experience.
This should come as no surprise, as unlike previous smartwatches, the Samsung Galaxy Gear does run a heavily customised version of the open source Android mobile operating system. It runs the almost up to date Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, and as such, with the addition of a launcher, you can choose between apps the same way as on your phone. There are one or two provisos and limitations though.
First, it's not for the fainthearted and involves having the Android software development kit on your computer. Secondly, you must have USB Debugging enabled, which is considered by many to be a security risk. Once you've made the magic happen, you'll find that the watch has specifications that are fairly similar to something like the HTC Wildfire smartphone, which should give you an idea what it is capable of. Candy Crush Saga, as we've mentioned, is a go, but Angry Birds is too labour intensive.
Because there is no access to the Google Play Store, there is no way of adding the Google App Suite, which rules out Youtube, and because the unit relies on tethering to a parent device for internet access, that rules out any chance of this hack becoming much more than a proof of concept and a novelty, so our dreams of a true Thunderbirds style communicator will have to wait just a little while longer. µ
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ