Samsung Gear S3 gets an unofficial Wear OS port

The skill of aftermarket developers in the Android modding scene is often incredibly impressive, especially when it comes to making hardware do things it shouldn’t. This time, a modder managed to get Google’s Wear OS to boot into the Samsung Gear S3, a Tizen-based smartwatch released in 2016!

Despite being effectively obsolete at this stage, the Samsung Gear S3 can now run the portable edition of Android, courtesy of Senior XDA Fellow parasetam0l. The developer ported Wear OS 2 (based on Android 9 Pie H MR2) to the Gear S3, which is no small feat given how underpowered the device is compared to the smartwatches we’re used to today.

The Exynos 7270-powered smartwatch is definitely past its maturity stage a long time ago, but it’s impressive to see the modding community try to breathe new life into old hardware. By using Wear OS on the Gear S3, much of the original functionality is preserved. Most of the sensors still work and even the heart rate monitor works. There are many bugs and known issues, but the list is quite small for a first build. Some notable bugs include poor battery life, patchy audio output, no GPS functionality, and various other minor issues.

Samsung Gear S3 XDA Forums

The port can be installed on the non-LTE global edition of the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier (model number SM-R760). The non-LTE “Classic” variant (model number SM-R770) is theoretically supported as well. However, it goes without saying that this carries the risk of bricking your watch or worse. LTE models (as well as Korean variants) use a different kernel, so they are not version compatible.

If you’re feeling adventurous and have an old Samsung Gear S3 laying around, play around with it to get Wear OS running. You can find a guide and download links in a dedicated XDA thread linked below.

Wear OS 2 for the Samsung Gear S3 — XDA Thread

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