Fraternising with the enemy
I recently won a competition with the prize being an Android Wear LG GwatchR. Cool I thought, well until I found out that it is a brick without an android smartphone running android 4.3 or later. You see I have a windows phone (Lumia 1020) and I am quite happy with it, but it is getting old so thought I could possibly upgrade to a Samsung galaxy S6… as well 95% of the apps I use on my current phone are available or having a comparable app available and then some. The problem is that the camera on the 1020 is immense, coupled with the Xeon flash and the camera interface makes it near perfect (only held back by the between photo time).
I also love the Qi wireless charging and have a dock in my car that allows me to be free of wires. Update: I believe the S6 will be Qi compatible… To me, these are show stoppers, well that and Googles blatant disregard for privacy!
So I thought to myself, how can I get this watch to actually do something useful… well it turned out not to be too hard…
I downloaded the latest android 4.4 image from http://www.android-x86.org/download and spun up a new VM in VMWare Workstation (although it should also work in the free VMWare Player), I then installed Android (instructions can be found linked from http://blogs.vmware.com/workstation/2014/02/experience-android-kitkat-vmware-workstation.html if needed). Don’t bother with using HyperV as it cant connect to peripheral devices which is really annoying!
I then connected through my computers built in Bluetooth to the VM (right click the Bluetooth symbols in the bottom right of the VMWare window and click ‘connect’) and setup android by following the instructions (which included creating a Gmail account).
Next it was simply a case of downloading the “Android Wear” app from the play store and turning Bluetooth on.
So I now have a watch that can tell the correct time and monitor my heart rate and steps when away from my computer and when the VM is switched on be a perfectly usable smart watch (without phone call and SMS notifications of course).
I guess the next thing will be to try and extract the APK to figure out how the protocol works (some research can be found at http://naniktolaram.com/?p=364 ) so that I can hopefully make it integrate to some level with windows phone (it already allows Bluetooth pairing) however their notification API is locked to OEMs and ‘special’ companies! However the true hope is that google will release a companion app for windows phone (never gunna happen springs to mind) but that is for another day as other projects are still higher on my priority list.