Side-loading Android apps to the Galaxy Gear is as easy as using ADB

by: Andrew GrushOctober 9, 2013

samsung galaxy gear aa 20

Wearable devices might be the future, but for Samsung, the Galaxy Gear isn’t exactly taking the world by storm. The biggest problems for the Gear are that the device suffers from a somewhat laggy UI, a limited app selection and restrictions that come with being nothing more than a “companion device”.

At the heart of the Gear though, we find a reasonably capable Android device that is largely limited due to less-than-perfect software (which will hopefully improve with time). Is there are way to improve this situation right now? Actually with a little ‘hacking’, you can bring over some of your favorite Android apps to the Galaxy Gear.

As shown off by Ars Technica, side-loading apps to the Galaxy Gear isn’t particularly difficult. All you need to do is enable USB debugging in the settings, hook up to a computer and use Android Debug Bridge to side-load to your heart’s content.

The tiny 1.63-inch display with a resolution of just 320 x 320 might make some apps a little difficult to navigate, but the 800MHz CPU and 512MB of RAM should at least be enough to run most Android apps without too much trouble. Ars Technica found that apps like Nova Launcher worked fine on the Gear and even games like Candy Crush were able to run, even if using the display proved somewhat frustrating.

The real magic here is in side-loading your multimedia to the Gear and using 3rd party multimedia apps. There’s likely a few other productivity apps or basic games that could come in handy on the Gear as well.

Unfortunately, you won’t be using side-loading to bring the power of Internet-enabled apps to the Gear. Due to the way Samsung’s smart watch works, Internet browsers and online-connected apps are unable to access the web.

In the end, side-loading might not be a perfect experience with the Gear, but for those of us who are tinkers by nature, it could still be a lot of fun. To try side-loading apps with the Galaxy Gear, simple head on over to Ars Technica for further instructions on how to get the job done.

  • MasterMuffin

    But does it have CM? :D Also “isn’t’t all that difficult” is not not?

  • KK

    IDEA: What if instead of a tiny 1.6 inch screen, put a 4 inch 16:9 screen that curves slightly to wrap around your wrist(curved displays :P), and give it a gauntlet type look and full smartphone capabilities. And then maybe, just maybe this can replace the smaller sized smartphones in the future. i know it may sound stupid, but its comparable to the idea of phablets 3 years ago

  • Oh god lol

    I wonder if Sonic 1 runs on this…

  • cookies

    I still have a motoactv from a while ago it runs apps pretty good but you have to root it and put custom recovery on it the only difference there really is is the motoactv can use internet apps and its ui is a little laggy its not that bad it screen is also only 1 inch also on the play store you cannot search for apps or it will crash i like it cause i can play games on it in class

  • Yale Landsberg

    Hi Andrew,

    Any chance that one of your many fans could side-load our unique and colorfully love TrueTyme Sun/Moon/Self app (our free trial is found on Google Play) and let us know how well it runs on the Samsung Gear, side-loaded?

    Regards, Yale

  • brett

    Install null rom and firmware root and use bluetooth tethering and enable internet.