Google's recently launched Android Wear platform had a bit of a rough weekend when it ran into an unexpected snag regarding paid apps – it couldn't install them. It turns out that the behavior could be traced to a Play Store security feature that was responsible for encrypting paid apps to make them more difficult to pirate; but in doing so, it had also made it impossible to extract and install any micro-apps contained within the apk. Tuesday night, Google responded to developers with an apology and a set of steps to reconfigure development projects to circumvent the installation issue.

To implement Google's proposed workaround, developers will have to make some simple one-time changes to the configuration of their projects and then endure a couple extra steps to manually package final versions for release. The change centers around relocating the micro-apk from the /assets folder to /res/raw, which makes it accessible to the Wear installer. It's a little more work, but it should be fairly painless as long as the steps are followed closely.


The blog post went on to explain that an update to Android Studio would be issued in the future to improve support for this configuration, which likely means there will also be an update to the New Project template to reduce confusion for developers in the future. Additionally, the documentation for Packaging Wearable Apps will be updated to reflect the project changes. (At the time of this post, the old version is still up.)

Providing a workaround won't break existing infrastructure and it's surely faster than issuing software updates to Google Play Services (GMS) or the Wear companion app. Unfortunately, it also means there will be some confusion among developers that are unaware of the fix when they publish their apps. If you come across a paid app that fails to install its Wear component, please be understanding and direct the developers to Google's blog post instead of leaving a negative 1-star review.

There's no point in sugarcoating it, this bug probably should have been found and fixed before launch. Still, we should give some credit to the Android Wear team for turning around a solution in just under 2 days. Fortunately, Android Wear spent its first several days in the hands of Google I/O attendees rather than launching directly to store shelves where end users wouldn't have been as understanding.

Source: Google Developers Blog via Android Developers Community (G+)

Thanks to Wayne Piekarski of Google for the quick heads-up!

Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

  • Leif Sikorski

    There is also an Android Wear Developers Community on G+ moderated by people of the Google wearable team. It might be the best place for wear developer to stay up to date.

  • Jay T

    "There's no point in sugarcoating it, this is a but that should have been found and fixed before launch."

    Hehe. There's no point in sugarcoating it, this is a typo that should have been found and fixed before posting. :P

    • http://google.com/+JulioManiratunga Julio M


    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      Woops, I should have gone to sleep hours ago. #fixed

  • Daniel

    Is it just me or doesn't music control work with Android L?
    I've tried it a few times, but when i press break the animation on the watch show that its stop playing music, but nothing happened on my N5 :/

    • Rob Earls

      Works fine for spotify for me. No special spotify app, same as standard I think.

      • http://williamjudd.com/ William Judd

        You're on Android L + Nexus 5?

        • Daniel

          I've tried it with Spotify and it also doesn't work

    • http://williamjudd.com/ William Judd

      I've found the same thing; running Android L on the Nexus 5 as well. This is on the standard Google Play Music app; I haven't tried Spotify.

    • cmbeid

      Controls for Google Play Music, YouTube, and Chromecast do not work from your Wear device on Android L.

    • Fabro

      Doesn't work for me either, when on N5 with L and Google Music. I can see the buttons, I even can press them, but nothing happens at all.

    • Daniel Rodriguez

      Actually occasionally will stop working for me on KK 4.4.4 too, or will be very laggy in responding. Far as I can tell tends to happen mostly if the phone has just moved from being connected to Wifi to LTE, or from LTE/HSPA to 3G, or back. For whatever reason the network change causes the bluetooth playback controls from the Wear watch to not respond on the phone. I actually had pretty much the same issue with my Pebble, sad to see it still happening with my GWatch.

  • Austin Haggerty

    RIP Tizen

    • Joery

      It never lived.

      • mlj11

        I think the proper term is dead on arrival.

    • Roberto Giunta

      Well, currently it has better battery life than Wear. This may change with updates but Wear being a more or less full version of Android and Google using Snapdragon 400 (dual core version) for them isn't helping either.

      • Cory S

        Tizen isn't always on either.

        • Roberto Giunta

          You can deactivate Always On on Wear and still won't reach those battery times. It won't have the battery life of 2-4 days like Tizen, more like 1-2 days. I NEVER heard anyone saying that their Wear device lasted 3 days.

          • Cory S

            What I meant was they may be optimized differently. Wear can keep the screen on with minimal data being displayed without taking a massive hit to battery life. We don't know if tizen could, or can do the same.

          • Roberto Giunta

            There are still a few things that Google could optimize with Wear. I know there is a blacklist but I'd like to receive certain notifications WITHOUT the screen flashing with every notification I get. I think that would do a lot for battery life.

          • Cory S

            Oh, to be sure. I also wonder if it could benefit (or already is) from the Android L battery improvements. My Nexus 5 has doubled in battery life, even screen on time after L.

      • Krzysztof Jozwik

        My mom's flip phone has better battery life than my N5, does that mean I'm going to go sell my N5? No.

        • Roberto Giunta

          Did I say "FUCK WEAR, GET A TIZEN SMARTWATCH"? No. so please don't argue with stupid old tropes like that. I won't take away Wear from you and I personally prefer it to Tizen in every way and/or form but it still has advantages in certain ways.

          • Krzysztof Jozwik

            Better battery life isn't going to save the gear.

          • Roberto Giunta

            Tbh, I think so, too.

  • laurakelly

    Thanks for sharing..!! I really like it.
    I have recently launched game "Monster Stomach Doctor" for kids. Also FREE to download from Google Play. I'm sure that kids really love this game..!! so download it & give rating..!!

    • Joe McMillan

      Eat crow, Laura. You and your free ("FREE") game are not welcome here.

  • RarestName

    Never in my life did I dream of buying applications for a watch.