Despite two Android Wear smartwatches now available worldwide, Google’s wearables platform is in its nascent stages, and is therefore expected to suffer from a few issues. Well, a rather nasty bug has already been discovered in Android Wear, one that is preventing users from installing any paid apps on their smartwatches.
The issue is related to how Android (and the Play Store) handles paid apps. If an app supports Android Wear, it must first be downloaded on a phone, after which the Android Wear component of the app is installed on a connected smartwatch. Paid Android apps are encrypted, with a device-specific encryption key obtained from the Play Store and passed to the phone, but according to Android Police, Android Wear currently has no provision for decrypting this key and extracting the necessary files from an encrypted app package, and as a result, is quietly aborting all attempts to install a paid app.
There aren’t a lot of paid apps available for Android Wear at the moment, but it is nonetheless a serious oversight that could ruin the experience for early adopters and developers alike. Google hasn’t made an official statement on the matter yet, but we will hopefully see a quick fix make its way to Android Wear smartwatches via an update in the coming days.
Update: Google has released a quick workaround for enabling installation of paid apps. It’s not a permanent fix since it’s only been implemented at the developer end, but an update for the Android Wear smartwatches shouldn’t be too far behind.