Google rolls out workaround for Android Wear bug

By Quinten Plummer, Tech Times | July 9, 6:08 PM

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Wear Woes

Premium apps run into wall on the Google Wear platform during installation. Google has rolled out a temporary fix and promises a long-term solution soon.
(Photo : Kimber Jakes | Creative Commons)

Weary of an Android Wear problem that has been bugging the platform's premium apps, Google released a temporary workaround to address the issue and reportedly says it plans on rolling out a permanent solution soon.

The problems surround the "forward lock" mechanism, a type of digital rights management (DRM) Google Play uses to keep apps from being sent to multiple devices. The workaround entails placing the app's Android Application Package file (APK) into the "raw" directory, instead of putting it into the assets folder where the installer has had trouble reading the files.

Ultimately, Google said in a blog post that it would like to upgrade the Android SDK so that APK files would automatically be placed in the raw directory when developers compile their premium apps. But for now, developers will have to accomplish the procedure manually.

"As per the documentation, there are two ways to package your wearable app: use the "wearApp" Gradle rule to package your wearable app or manually package the wearable app," stated the blog post. "For paid apps, the workaround is to manually package your apps with the following two changes, and you cannot use the "wearApp" Gradle rule."

The forward locking mechanism Google Play has been using to protect premium apps from piracy was allegedly held up by authentication issues. To avoid overwhelming Google's wearables with data storage and processing tasks, Android Wear apps have been installed as primary on the users' handset, while a smaller, companion app has been loaded onto the wearables via Bluetooth.

With Google acknowledging installer issues, it appeared the Wear installer either failed to authenticate the version and device IDs of the APKs or failed to read them altogether.

"We're working to make this easier for you in the future," stated Google in the blog post. "We apologize for the inconvenience."

At this point, users of free Wear apps haven't reported similar issues to installing the software as individuals who purchased premium apps.

Android Wear has been released for smart watches developed by LG, Samsung and Motorola and some of the popular apps released for the platform include Lyft, If This Then That (IFTTT) and Google Keep. Google Keep enables Android Wear users to dictate messages via their smart watches, while IFTTT allows users to program app sequences on their smartphones to a single button on their smart watches. Lyft puts Wear users just a couple of swipes and button presses away from calling transport to their locations.

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