Did you know that the Samsung Galaxy Gear is basically an Android device like every other phone out there, except with weaker hardware and no cellular radios? Yes, it runs basic Android, which means apps should work on this device. And with an 800MHz processor and 512MB of RAM, it should run most apps just fine. In testing, it totally works.
To sideload apps to the device, you’ll have to enable USB debug in settings. After that, you can hook the smartwatch up to your computer and fire up a command prompt. A simple “adb install filename.apk” will install the app for you, while “adb push filename /sdcard” will allow you to push content such as music or movies onto the device. You’ll obviously need the Android SDK installed on your computer for this procedure, but it’s all fairly easy.
From there, apps work just fine for the most part. Nova Launcher, Candy Crush and various media player apps fire up and perform pretty decently for such a slow device. However, internet-based apps like browsers are rendered useless by the Gear’s lack of cellular radios.
While this is not for the general consumer, it’s an awesome chance for tinkerers to get more out of their $300 smartwatch. Finding apps that are actually useful on the device won’t be hard, and you could actually improve the user experience if you find some good ones. And don’t forget, this is just the beginning. The community does amazing things with limited products, so if adoption rates for the Gear pick up, we might see some radical modification in the future. But for now, go start messing around with it if you happen to own one of these!