The Samsung Galaxy Gear might have been met with a mixed reception at launch, but there’s no denying that underneath it’s initial issues, there’s plenty of potential. To Samsung’s credit, they are slowly but surely addressing some of the watch’s biggest problem areas by further refining the software, enhancing the watch’s notification system and improving the smartwatch app situation.
Unfortunately one issue that still holds the Galaxy Gear back is device compatibility. At launch the Galaxy Gear only worked with the Note 3, and while it now supports a few other popular Samsung devices, those without a Samsung handset are left out in the dark. The good news for Nexus 5 owners is that you can now join the exclusive “Galaxy Gear compatible” club, at least unofficially.
Thanks to the efforts of XDA member pcelli, a method for pairing the Nexus 5 with the Galaxy Gear has been detailed, and involves pulling certain files from the Gear Manager APK and manually installing them on your handset. Although the process is a bit involved, the good news is that it allows your Nexus device to work almost the same as an approved Samsung handset would. The only exception to this is that S Voice and Weather are TouchWiz-dependent features, and therefore don’t work.
The method has only been officially confirmed to work with the Nexus 5, though SamMobile was able to at least pair it with the Nexus 7. They were unable to fully test if it works with the tablet however, as it requires you to reset your Galaxy Gear to factory settings before it can fully connect to the Nexus 5 or Nexus 7. Outside the Nexus 5 and possibly Nexus 7, it’s also possible that this method may work on other smartphones and tablets, but there are no guarantees.
For more details on how to pair a Nexus handset or tablet with the Galaxy Gear you’ll want to head on over to the XDA developer’s forum. If the Galaxy Gear supported more non-Samsung handsets out-of-the-box (or even unofficially) would you consider buying the Gear or do you feel that the company’s first smartwatch attempt just doesn’t cut it for your needs?