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Android Wear paid apps get temporary workaround

LG G Watch group shot

Google has come up with a temporary fix for the paid apps issue on its new Android Wear smartwatches

Google’s Android Wear smartwatches are now available to buy here in the UK, with the first compatible apps already appearing in the app store, but the company has been forced to issue a workaround for paid apps following the discovery of a major bug earlier this week. 

The bug, which affects both LG’s G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live, prevents paid apps with an Android Wear component from installing correctly on a paired smartwatch, even if the user has legitimately paid for the app through the Google Play Store.

Google’s temporary workaround, which was revealed on the official Android Developers Google+ page last night, asks developers to move the wearable component of an app into a different directory of the APK (the install package containing all the app’s data) in order for a paired smartwatch to access it – even if the app is otherwise restricted by encryption designed to prevent paid apps from being installed on unauthorised devices.

According to the Android Developers post, the workaround will be added by default in “a future update to the Android SDK build tools”, but it won’t be a permanent fix: “We’re working to make this easier for you in the future”, suggesting developers might need to change their apps a second time to match the new guidelines when they arrive.

The workaround should come as good news to any early Android Wear adopters, but they will still have to wait for app developers to implement the changes before they can start using paid apps on their wrist. With no sign of when Google will properly fix the issue, we expect most major developers to quickly update their apps, but it is possible that some will wait for something more official before making any changes.