Android wear based devices have started to surface but like all products they’ve had their fair share of launch problems, although the fact that installing paid apps on the devices does not work is quite a strong repellent for anyone that was thinking of purchasing one of these new devices.
First off we need to establish that if the smart watches are on their own they are pretty much just a very expensive watch and for a watch they have a pretty terrible battery life. It’s not until you connect Android device to it that all of the other features become apparent such as the extra apps, internet access and the ability to use the Google now features to check the weather or traffic in your area. Therefore this device is of no use to people who don’t have a fairly new Android device to pair it with.
As with all platforms you get your free apps which are sometimes sub par in quality or functionality and your paid for apps, where you expect the app to work properly straight away and if it doesn’t you expect the app the be updated in order to fix the problem. Right now no one really knows what the quality of the paid for wear apps is like as no-one can install them.
The reason for this is the way that the process is handled for installing apps on your smart watch. The first thing you need to know is that currently there is no such thing as a standalone wear app and therefore your other Android device will always play a part, for now at least.
When you download an app off the play store and have the watch paired with you device, the device will check the application to see if there is any wear component to the application. If there is then the device will send the package to the watch where it will be installed ready to work with the main part of the app on your Android device, this all seems simple enough but for paid apps there’s an extra step where things have been going wrong.
With paid apps the package part that goes to the smart watch is encrypted as a form of DRM. This makes sure that people have to pay for the app instead of side loading the APK . This seams to be fair enough as it is just the developers protecting their work. When the package has been transferred to the watch, the Play store will check the purchases on your account to make sure you own the app and if you do push the encryption key to the watch to allow it to access and install the component.
The thing is though is the encryption key never gets pushed to the device and therefore the app can’t be decrypted and as a result also can’t be installed. The problem stems from the Android SDK which are the tools that developers use to develop and release apps for Android. Google hasn’t updated the documentation to teach developers how the properly implement the DRM for wear, they manage to do the encryption alright but have trouble getting the Android device to push the key to the watch.
As a result we have users who pay for apps that they can’t use and get very angry. At the moment we need to wait for Google to fix any problems in the SDK and also update the documentation in order to tell developers how to properly implement the DRM for paid apps.
The advice for the moment is not to buy any app you want to use with wear just for that reason as the Device part will work fine but it’s a no go for the watch part.
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