Today marks the long-awaited release of Google’s Android Wear, along with the first two devices running the wearable-focused OS; the Samsung Gear Live and the LG G Watch. While reviews thus far have been relatively favorable for both gadgets overall, it seems as though the operating system has hit something of a snag: it won’t allow for the install of paid apps.
The news comes by way of a post on Android Police’s Bugwatch, which explains that the problem comes from Google’s app encryption. According to the post, paid apps for Android purchased through the Play Store comes with device-specific App Encryption, which keeps apps bought for one person’s phone from being pirated to another. When you install a new app to your Android smartphone, any companion apps built for Android Wear find their way to connected companion devices via Bluetooth. When you try to install a paid app on your Android Wear device, however, App Encryption gums up the process. Here’s the crux of the problem, as described by Bugwatch:
“It seems the Android Wear install process runs into a road block with paid apps because it doesn’t know how to extract the file of the encrypted apk [the Android install file extension]. Since the installer fails to recognize the payload, it assumes there is nothing to install and sliently aborts.”
There’s still plenty of time for Google to get in front of this problem and release a fix. The Android Wear category of the Google Play Store is still relatively sparse in terms of what’s to offer. Moreover, the only people buying or receiving Android Wear devices today are early adopters – Google diehards who might be forgiving of a mistake like this. However, Google would be smart to ensure that this problem is resolved quickly. The last thing Google needs is a reason for people to not buy into Android Wear because of a silly bug like this. Android Wear gadgets are already a tough enough sell considering how peripheral they are to the full smartphone experience.
Moreover, Google should want to make its app developers as happy as possible. With rival wearables from Apple and Microsoft – not to mention Samsung’s pre-existing line of Gear smartwatches running Tizen – there are lots of other fish in the sea that can help them earn money from releasing apps. Needless to say, if Google’s engineers are as smart as they seem, this bug should be squashed within a day or two, and this will be the last we hear of it.