Crazy person install Wear OS on 2016 Galaxy Gear S3 because why not?


TL;DR

  • A developer installed Wear OS on the Galaxy Gear S3 Frontier.
  • The 2016 smartwatch initially shipped with Samsung’s Tizen operating system.
  • A lot of things are broken and the battery life is “poor” so it’s not going to breathe new life into your old watch.

In 2018, Samsung launched the Galaxy Watch. It was the brand’s first to not use the “Gear” branding it had adopted until then. In 2016, for example, its flagship smartwatch was the Samsung Galaxy Gear S3.

This watch comes with Samsung’s own Tizen operating system. The first Gear watches came with Android Wear, but Samsung ditched that OS pretty quickly. Fast forward to today, however, and we have the Galaxy Watch 4, which is Samsung’s first (and only) watch with Wear OS.

See also: The best smartwatches you can buy

A developer at XDA Developers, however, wondered what the 2016 Samsung Galaxy Gear S3 Frontier would look like with Wear OS instead of Tizen. The only way to find out is to do so, so they flashed the latest Wear OS 2 ROM on the device and talked about what happened.

Below you can see screenshots showing off Wear OS on the Galaxy Gear S3, which is certainly an interesting sight.

Samsung Galaxy Gear S3 running Wear OS

Now, don’t get too excited about digging up your old watch and running Wear OS on it. The developer – parasetam0l – admits the Gear S3 is royally annoyed in several ways. First, the battery life is “mediocre”, so that’s the main hurdle. The watch also cannot use tilt to wake, GPS, or NFC. Even the step count is broken.

On the plus side, the rotating bezel – a long favorite feature of Samsung watches – works as expected. It is possible parasetam0l might make other issues work better over time.

To learn all about how the developer did this and how you can try it out for yourself, check out the XDA thread.


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