Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch now works with a smartphone from another manufacturer -- the LG Nexus 5 from Google. The release is unofficial and takes some work to make happen, but it allows access to the Galaxy Gear along with most of its features on the Nexus 5.
Upon its release, Samsung offered the Galaxy Gear alongside the Galaxy Note 3, the only smartphone with official support. The Korean manufacturer later added support for the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the earlier Galaxy S3 and Note 2.
Thanks to XDA Developers forum member pcelli and others, any Nexus 5 running Android 4.4.2 KitKat can be made to work with the Galaxy Gear by placing a few Samsung Android application package files, or APKs, on the smartphone. Android Authority first reported about the Galaxy Gear hack on Wednesday.
Head over to XDA for directions and be forewarned that any firmware tampering can void the warranty and even potentially damage your Galaxy Gear or Nexus 5. Support for the Galaxy Gear on the Nexus 5 is not official or supported by Samsung, LG or Google, so proceed with caution if you make the attempt.
With the necessary APKs installed, the Nexus 5 supports most of the Galaxy Gear's functions, however S Voice and Weather do not work. Since those apps are tied to Samsung's TouchWiz user experience, they do not function when running the smartwatch on a Nexus 5.
Samsung added support for third-party notifications such as Gmail or Facebook Messenger with a Galaxy Gear update in November. The smartwatch retails for $299.
Does this unofficial Galaxy Gear support turn any non-owners of Samsung’s smartwatch into potential buyers? Or are less expensive alternatives, like the Pebble, still a better buy? Let us know in the comments below.
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Thomas Halleck is a technology reporter for the International Business Times, covering Google, wearables, product reviews, gadget news and more....