Nexus 5 + Galaxy Gear

A little hackery gets most Gear functions working with Google's latest smartphone

One of the major barriers to Galaxy Gear ownership is the watch's lack of support for non-Samsung smartphones. But now it seems it's possible to get most of the Gear's functions working in conjunction with the Nexus 5, possibly opening the door to it working — unofficially, of course — with additional third-party Android devices.

Smartwatch Fans has details of a manual install method first discovered on the XDA forums that gets the Gear Manager app and a slew of other APKs loaded onto the Nexus 5. It's a long-winded process involving pulling files out of the Gear Manager APK and installing them manually — but it eventually gets the Gear up and running with the N5, with everything except S Voice and Weather working properly.

While the process seems to work with the Nexus 5 on Android 4.4.2, we didn't have any luck repeating it on the Moto X or Sony Xperia Z1, so your mileage may vary. And of course there's no guarantee this loophole won't be closed in a future Gear update.

If you're still interested in fooling around with the Galaxy Gear on unsupported devices, hit up the source link to get started.

More: Smartwatch Fans

 
There are 31 comments

The Gear is pretty expensive to purchase for use on a phone where all the features don't work. I suppose if you owned both a Nexus 5 and compatible Samsung phone it would be cool to test out.

eahinrichsen says:

Not to mention the fact that updates to either the phone's or watch's software could easily break functionality even more.

MidMoMonkey says:

Now put a 13MP OIS camera in the gear and I'll take it.

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hmmm says:

The gear seems like a cool idea but it's just a little too ambitious for what the battery can provide in my opinion.

To me a smart watch needs to be a watch first, cell phone companion second. The gear barely gets a day of charge, sometimes less. Also, the screen isn't always on. The camera in the wrist seems kind of pointless and makes replacing the watch band not possible. Those issues make it very limited as a watch to me. It is almost like it is trying to be a cell phone on your wrist.

In my opinion the Pebble gets it right. The screen is on all the time (in fact it looks almost identical to the above image at all times but also has weather) and the battery lasts 5+ days. Sure it doesn't have quite the features of the gear but it gets the most important features right, like reading texts or emails. In addition you can find them for around $120 if you look for a sale. About the only feature I wish it had was a microphone so that you could use voice to send sms messages. Right now the Pebble can really only send pre-typed responses like "Call you later" or "I'll be a little late".

The e-paper or e-ink like display may not be as colorful or as high of resolution but until they have a super battery that is capable of delivering I think something like the gear would be more frustrating than it's worth especially at $300... A watch screen needs to always be on and needs to be clearly visible in bright light which the e-paper type displays can offer.

eahinrichsen says:

I agree 100%. The Gear is a really neat piece of technology, but it's got too much crap packed into it. I doubt many Gear owners use the camera very frequently. Personally, I'd prefer to ditch the camera and gain the ability to replace the watch band instead.

I got a Pebble for Christmas, and I really enjoy it. I definitely wish it looked and felt a little classier (if the Steel were available now, I'd probably return the one I got and pay the difference for one of those), but for the $120 holiday price tag, it's great.

hmmm says:

Yeah, the price allows it to be something you can buy and try out to see if you even like a watch like this. I never really thought I would want one until I got one. In fact I was strongly against them and thought they were pointless. Now I love it.

aznmode says:

I actually love my gear. There's a watch styler app that lets me change the face to anything I want, from a Casio digital watch to a Tag, or Bell Ross face and a bunch more. To me it is my go to watch now and don't really wear my other watches anymore. I charge it every night at the same time I charge my phone anyway so it's not a big deal as far as battery goes.

As far as camera goes, I actually used it on my vacation when I went zip lining, para sailing, etc. I was able to to take pictures of all my events as well as record it. It was nice not having to pull out my phone or having to hold anything while I'm recording and I didn't have to worry about dropping it as I would if I was using my phone. It was like having a go pro on my wrist.

jwlehman says:

My experience in owning the Galaxy Gear and it's battery life is nowhere near what you state in your post. I easily still have 75-85% battery left at the end of the day. Is this your experience r what you have read?

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aznmode says:

Haha I don't think hes speaking from experience. It looks like he's got a pebble. A lot of people bash the gear from what they read it seems like.

xlDeMoNiClx says:

People do that for all Samsung devices. Few people actually do their research and use the devices themselves. Cut the price of the Gear in half (lose the camera if you have to), and let non-Samsung phones be compatible with it and it would be amazing. I'd already have one at this point.

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tone84 says:

I get two days of use with my galaxy gear.. not sure what watch their using

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WinePress says:

what a complete load of crap.
I get about 1 full work week on one charge with my galaxy gear.

I had a pebble and gave it to my girl because I have a gear and note 3.

The pebble is not nearly as useful as the gear, not even close.

Posted via Galaxy Note 3

Love my Gear. It is worth every penny of $300. If you go shopping for a high quality watch you will spend more than that. Maybe that's just me though.

Also. I get 3 days or more on a single charge. Battery is fine.

heathroi says:

$300? for a watch? thats like, i don't know a $250 thermostat.

Guess I'm used to talking to the less fortunate.

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Jay Holm says:

A $350 watch works for nothing and no one except wall street!!! I'm sick of articles about a $350 smartwatch!!! It's overpriced, overrated, and overhyped.

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

jwlehman says:

Who charges $350 for a Galaxy Gear? Full retail is $299...I bought mine for $250. The Pebble Steel is going for $249 :-)

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Lol I got my gear for 50$ it was worth every cent

It's $299.00

Crap...you beat me to the punch jwlehman :)

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xlDeMoNiClx says:

Maybe you should leave AC then if you're sick of these articles. I'm sure a lot of other people would be happy too.

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eahinrichsen says:

I don't think your multiple exclamation points add enough emphasis. PERHAPS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER TYPING IN CAPS AS WELL!!!

What is it with you guys. All you, Richardyarrell, & Icebike like to do is tell other people what they should & shouldn't buy &/or complain about what is written.

If you don't care for the Gear, just skip the article. You saw the title, you knew what it was about, but you came to troll anyway. Do you really have nothing better to do?

JTIII says:

While I appreciate the effort spent getting this to work, I think it'd be better to send a message to Samsung that locking such a device to their own ecosystem is not the way to go. They specifically chose to release a device that excluded the owners of any mobile device other a select few Samsung models. I'd much rather support a company that sees the benefit of supporting all mobile devices -- and yes, ideally, that would include Android, iOS, Windows, etc. If their ability only extends to support Android, then at least support ALL of android (over a certain version number, of course, let's not get crazy).

RexMaximus says:

+1.

Posted via Android Central App and Droid Mini

jwlehman says:

I understand your point, but I believe Samsung did it to boost sales of their then new Note 3. They have since expanded it to other Samsung models.

It probably won't be long until they open it to others makes. Samsung didn't get to be as big as they are by not thinking about these kinds of issues before they make a marketing move.

I have the Gear and the Note 3, and they make an awesome pair.

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Finally

Visual360 says:

Works great on my Nexus 5. I love the gear, it is worth every penny.

biggbrother2 says:

The Gear has not been on my radar simply because it's not (wasn't) compatible with my Nexus 5. If an easy installer is made I might jump on this....

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kable#AC says:

Same method is working fine with my Sony Xperia Z Ultra and Gear Watch.

Logan Vega says:

Ahhhhh thank you thank you thank you! I rooted my phone Galaxy S4 a while back and then installed Cyanogemod 11 stable and my gear which is running null15 at the time would not connect. I Tried everything! But could simply not get it to work. I actually just left my gear on a shelf for like 2 months. BUT THIS WORKED!!! Voice and Music dont work but maybe soon it will!

Lol I got my gear for 50$ it was worth every cent