You may already be aware that the Samsung Galaxy Gear is powered by Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, but what you may not know is that it is actually capable of running regular Android apps — not just those specifically built for Galaxy Gear. It can even run Android launchers like Nova — as you can see in the picture above.
The trick was first discovered by Ars Technica’s Ron Amadeo, who has gotten apps like the Apollo music player from CyanogenMod and the Dolphin browser running on the device, as well as certain games like Candy Crush Saga.
To install Android apps on the Galaxy Gear, you must first enable the “USB debug” option within its settings app. You can then connect it to your PC running ADB, and side-load APK files using a command line.
You won’t be able to install Google’s own apps — such as YouTube or Gmail — because that requires root access, but you’ll be able to run various other things, including the Nova launcher, which essentially turns your Galaxy Gear into a tiny smartphone.
It’s not a completely seamless experience, however, due to the Galaxy Gear’s rather slow 800MHz processor and its meager 512MB of RAM.
Those internals are fully capable of powering a smartwatch, but not so great at running modern Android apps designed for much faster devices. Having said that, Candy Crush Saga runs pretty well on the Galaxy Gear — though Angry Birds was too much for it to handle, Amadeo says.
“The real killer is that the Gear is unable to reach the Internet on its own,” Amadeo reports, which means apps that require an Internet connection are pretty much useless. While Dolphin runs just fine, then, you can’t do anything with it.
Check out Amadeo’s video, which shows some of these apps running on the Galaxy Gear, below:
- Source Ars Technica