Samsung made a very bold attempt at entering the now-somewhat-established smartwatch space—long before the current market leaders—with the launch of their Galaxy Gear devices, but none of these wearables ever made very much of an impact. And since these devices came several months before Android Wear even existed, they ran Samsung’s proprietary Tizen operating system, which many users have agreed is notoriously clunky and unintuitive.

Now, a developer on the XDA-Developers forum has started work on porting Android Wear to the Galaxy Gear 2, and it looks like the OS is already partially functional…

It’s definitely in the early stages of development, but one biktor_gj has posted photos of the Gear 2 showing the device successfully making its way through the Android Wear boot up screen. Currently, the device seems to boot to and run TeamWin TWRP just fine, as well as load up the initial set up menu, but the touch screen is not yet fully functional. According to Biktor, though, it’s not actually the touch screen that isn’t working. “Just as a little note.. touchscreen DOES work in Android,” he said. “It’s the audio library crashing what doesn’t let you touch the menu!”

Biktor is currently working on the audio library, Bluetooth services, and power management, after which work will begin to make sure sensors and other functions are working correctly:

Right now I’m just focused on 3 things (from more to less important) * Audio service -> Either disable it or make it work, or default it to A2DP if it can be done * Bluetooth service -> Check if it’s really working or only half of it. As soon as I get audio out of the way, I will be able to test this and hopefully remove it from the list directly * Power management -> Reenable and test the power management in Android and remove all the debug stuff I enabled in the kernel. This is of no use if we get 4 hours of battery life

While this is obviously not a seamless solution yet by any means, it looks like Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 owners might just be able to ditch Tizen at some point in the near future assuming this hacker doesn’t run into any major roadblocks. The hardware of the watch is clearly capable of at least booting to Wear, so it will be interesting to see if Biktor can put together an easily-flashable and fully- (or mostly-) functional firmware. In the meantime, check out this quick video showing the Settings screen running and the watch automatically turning its screen on and off:

If you want to read more about the project, head over to XDA.

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Stephen Hall

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