Peripherals

How to Root the Galaxy Gear And Use it With Any Phone

January 1st, 2014 by David Cogen

Gear Shot

By rooting (aka gaining admin rights to) your Galaxy Gear, you can install a custom ROM, run rooted apps, and even pair it with non-approved devices. First you must gain root access using a simple program and then install a custom ROM (version of the operating system). Doing so will turn the Gear into a full-blown Android device, capable of running all kinds of apps. Here’s how to root your Gear and flash a custom ROM on it.

Before you begin, you will need both a Windows PC and a Galaxy Gear Approved device (Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy s4, etc) in addition to your smartwatch.

1. Enable NFC on the Galaxy Gear approved phone (i.e. Galaxy Note 3). You can find it under the connections tab in settings.

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2. Hold the Galaxy Gear Charging Dock to the back of the Galaxy Gear approved phone and wait for it to install Gear Manager. If your phone is already paired with your Gear, you can skip this and the next step.

MORE: Smartwatch Face-Off: Pebble vs. Sony SmartWatch 2 vs. Galaxy Gear

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3. Follow the prompts on the Gear approved phone to connect to the Gear until the Gear shows the time on it indicating it is past the activation process.

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4. Go to Settings > Gear Info > and Tap Software Version 10 times and then enable USB Debugging on the Galaxy Gear.

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5. Download the Samsung USB Drivers to your PC Desktop.

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6. Right-click the .zip file you downloaded and click extract all.

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7. Double-click the .exe file inside to install the drivers.

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8. Plug in the Galaxy Gear via USB by putting it in it’s charging dock and plugging in a USB cable from it to the computer. Let the drivers install.

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9. Download Cydia Impactor and save it to your Desktop.

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10. Right-click the .zip file and click Extract All.

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11. Double-click the Impactor .exe file inside the newly extracted folder.

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12. Click Start if Impactor shows “# drop SuperSU su to /system/xbin/su” in the text field. If it does,  If the text field is blank, enter that command manually, then click Start.

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13. Click Always allow and then click OK when your Gear gives you an RSA fingerprint prompt.

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14. Download  and install Wondershare Mobile Go on your PC (the Free Trial will work just fine).

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15. Open Wondershare on your computer.

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16. Click on Google Play Apps.

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17. Search for and install SuperSU (free version by Chainfire).

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18. Download the Recovery and save it to your Desktop (it is located under Downloads in that post).

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19. Download ODIN and save it to your Desktop.

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20. Right-click the ODIN .zip file and click extract all.

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21. Install ODIN by double-clicking the .exe file inside the newly extracted folder.

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22. Hold the power button on the Gear until the Gear says rebooting on the screen.

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23. Quickly tap the power button 5 times while the restart dialog is present to put the device into recovery mode.

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24. Press the power button again to highlight Download Mode.

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25. Press and hold the power button for 3 seconds to select Download Mode.

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26. Plug the Gear in via USB cable.

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27. Open ODIN.

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28. Select AP in ODIN and then select the Recovery file you downloaded in step 1.

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29. Press Start in ODIN to flash it.

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30. Download the ROM and save it to your Desktop (click on the latest Build then click on the download link under Mirrors on that page).

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31. Plug in the Gear via USB cable (if it isn’t still plugged in from before).

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32. Open MobileShare back up.

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33. Click on Files under your device on the left side.

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34. Click on the Add button at the top and select the ROM .zip file you downloaded earlier and click OK (do NOT extract the .zip leave it as a .zip file). This will put the .zip file on the internal storage of the Gear.

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35. Unplug the Gear.

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36. Hold the power button on the Gear until the Gear says rebooting on the screen.

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37. As soon as it says rebooting, quickly tap the power button 5 times while the restart dialog is present to put the device into recovery mode.

Screen Shot 2013-12-25 at 4.35.02 PM

38. Press the power button twice to navigate and highlight Recovery mode.

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39. Press and hold the power button for 3 seconds to select Recovery Mode.

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40. Select Install in TWRP.

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41. Select the ROM .zip file we put on the device earlier and swipe to install it.

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42. Follow the instructions to choose what features you want in the ROM and continue to click Next until it flashes the ROM.

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43. When it’s done flashing, follow the prompts again by clicking Next to reboot the device.

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44. When it reboots, you are all set.

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How to Pair the Rooted Galaxy Gear With Your Phone

Connecting to the Gear from another device works the same on a Gear approved device (using the Gear Manager) but on non-approved devices, simply connect via Bluetooth (keep in mind notifications and other things that only work through Gear Manager will still not work unless you have Gear Manager).

  • Turn Bluetooth on on both devices.
  • Tap the Gear when it appears under Bluetooth devices on your device to pair them.
  • To use internet on the Gear select the gear icon next to the Galaxy Gear under paired devices. Then check Share Internet.

David Cogen is a founder of TheUnlockr.com, the popular site for rooting, jailbreaking, hacking, modding, and other how tos to show you how to unlock your device’s true potential. They even have a popular ROM repository. Check out TheUnlockr.com for all your AndroidiPhone, and Windows Phone how tos.

Oculus Rift Coming to Android, iOS Left in the Cold

October 30th, 2013 by Sherri L. Smith, Senior Staff Writer

Oculus Rift

Gamers are one step closer to getting a virtual reality “Angry Birds.” Oculus VR, makers of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset has announced that the company is working on an Android-exclusive offshoot of the device in addition to the PC version. Oculus Rift first began as a Kickstarter project that quickly surpassed its funding goal thanks in part to support from well known names in the gaming industry including Valve CEO Gabe Newell.

According to Joystiq, Brendan Iribe, Chief Executive Officer, announced that the Android-centric headset will be lighter than its PC counterpart. The device is on schedule to be released at about the same time as the PC version, which will arrive sometime next year. Despite earlier reports, the Rift will not be coming to iOS.

MORE: Oculus Rift Eyes-On Video: The Future of Gaming Is In Your Face

The company has not commented on the reason the iOS-faithful have been left in the cold, but it might have something to do with Apple’s notoriously closed development ecosystem. Android’s open-source system lacks Apple’s rigidity, making it a more attractive option for developers. That in turn should translate to a healthy catalogue of games when the system launches. 

Users who can’t wait  until 2014 can buy the PC-based Oculus Rift Developer kit for $300 today oculusvr.com.

Growing Hair With Science: iGrow Uses Lasers to Restore Your Locks

September 27th, 2013 by Daniel P. Howley, LAPTOP Senior Writer

The prospect of going bald is so frightening for many people that they are willing to spend untold sums on creams and sprays that promise to regrow hair. But this is the 21st century. Isn’t there a more high-tech way to treat baldness, like say, lasers? As it turns out, that’s exactly what Apira Science’s iGrow helmet uses. Packed with a series of low-level lasers, the $695 iGrow helmet fires beams of light at your scalp that the company says help stimulate hair follicle growth. 

We tried on the helmet for a few minutes and didn’t feel anything from its lasers, though it wasn’t exactly comfortable to wear. Apira Science added a pair of headphones to the sides of the helmet to help keep it on your head, as well as give you the option to listen to music via a 3.5mm headphone jack.

MORE: What Were They Thinking? 6 Most Senseless Gadgets

According to Apira Science, with regular use — roughly 20 minutes at a time, three to four times a week, for up to 6 months — the iGrow’s low-level 566 nanometer lasers can bring back hair, covering your bald spot. Unfortunately, Apira Science says the gadget won’t work on people who are “shiny” bald, as their hair follicles are already dead.

So how exactly can lasers regrow hair? There are, however, hypotheses that indicate the lasers, through a process called low-level laser therapy photobiomodulation, initiate a chemical reaction in your scalp’s cells that reverse follicular apoptosis or programmed cell growth. The company also claims that the iGrow’s lasers can make your hair look “healthier, fuller and more vibrant.” We’re not sure how well the iGrow works, but the company says its device has been cleared by the FDA for sale, so at the very least, you know if won’t do any damage to your head.

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Sony SmartWatch 2 Hands-On: A Water-Resistant Watch With 300+ Apps

September 5th, 2013 by Daniel P. Howley, LAPTOP Senior Writer

Samsung’s new Galaxy Gear smartwatch may be getting all of the love here at IFA 2013, but it’s not the only game in town. Sony has also announced a new watch of its own, the SmartWatch 2. The Android-powered SmartWatch 2 features a 1.6-inch 220 x 176-pixel transflective LCD display, which is a bit smaller and lower resolution than the Galaxy Gear’s 1.63-inch, 320 x 320 Super AMOLED screen. Sony’s watch also features an aluminum frame and your choice of rubber or stainless steel bands.

Oh, and did we mention you can wear it underwater? That’s right, Sony’s watch, like its Xperia Z1 smartphone, has an IP57 water resistance rating. That means you can keep it strapped to your wrist in up to 3 feet of water for 30 minutes. So is Sony’s SmartWatch 2 the real smartwatch to beat? We went hands-on to find out. Read the rest of this entry »

Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch Hands-on: Voice Calls, Camera, 70 Apps

September 4th, 2013 by Daniel P. Howley, LAPTOP Senior Writer

Samsung has fired the first salvo in the smartwatch wars with the Galaxy Gear, announced at IFA 2013 here in Berlin. The smartwatch, which connects to Samsung’s other newly announced devices, the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 10.1, features a 1.63-inch 320 x 320 Super AMOLED touch screen and runs a modified version of Google’s Android operating system. This device not only lets you make calls from your wrist, it has a built-in camera and will offer access to 70 or more apps at launch.

We spent some hands-on time with Samsung’s new high-tech timepiece to bring you our first impressions. The feature set looks good, but would we wear one?

MORE: Samsung Galaxy Gear vs the Competition: Specs Compared

Read the rest of this entry »

FreedomPop Adds 4G LTE to Free Wireless Service

August 6th, 2013 by Daniel P. Howley, LAPTOP Senior Writer

FreedomPop-SS-1

Free wireless Internet provider FreedomPop has announced that it is officially rolling out 4G LTE service to its customers via Sprint’s LTE network. The service provider, which launched in the U.S. in June, initially piggybacked on Sprint’s slower WiMAX network, but said LTE would follow later. However, Sprint’s LTE network reaches just 110 markets, compared to AT&T’s 335 markets and Verizon’s 500. T-Mobile, which just launched its LTE network, covers 116 markets.

FreedomPop provides users with 500MB of free data per month in addition to 200 free voice minutes and unlimited calls to other FreedomPop users. In addition to getting on Sprint’s LTE network, the company has also announced it’s now offering its own FreedomPop 5580 LTE mobile hotspot. The  hotspot offers connectivity for up to 10 devices, includes a 1.5-inch OLED display and can reportedly run on battery power for up to 8 hours. will cost users about $199. Pick it up now, however, and you’ll only have to fork over $149 as part of FreedomPop’s sale.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Apple Offering Power Adapter Takeback Program Following Electrocutions

August 6th, 2013 by Daniel P. Howley, LAPTOP Senior Writer

iPhone-5Apple is responding to reports of electrocutions related to third-party and counterfeit USB power adapters with a new takeback program that will allow users to purchase official chargers at a significantly reduced price. The announcement follows two separate incidents, both taking place in China, of individuals being electrocuted while charging their iPhones.

The USB Power Adapter Takeback Program, which begins on Aug. 16 in the U.S., will allow users who have concerns about any of their third-party USB power adapters to drop them off at an Apple store or Apple authorized service provider. In exchange, Apple will provide users with replacement adapters for their iPhones, iPads and iPods for $10. A standard iPhone 5W USB power adapter and iPad with Retina Display 12W USB power adapter each cost $19. Read the rest of this entry »

SMS Audio Launches SYNC by 50 Wireless Speaker

August 6th, 2013 by Sherri L. Smith, Senior Staff Writer

SYNC by 50 Wireless Speaker - 03

First it was headphones, now it’s speakers. Hip hop mogul Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson,  is expanding his audio empire with the new SMS Audio SYNC by 50 Wireless Speaker.  Available in Shadow Black with blue highlights, the $199.95 speaker features 50mm drivers, omni-directional 3D stereo sound. The company claims that the portable speaker will deliver clear, dynamic audio.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sony Reportedly Working on Wireless Smartphone Camera Lens

July 19th, 2013 by Daniel P. Howley, LAPTOP Senior Writer

sony lens camera 1

Fresh on the heels of Nokia’s Lumia 1020 announcement, Sony is reportedly working on a detachable camera lens that can wirelessly connect to your smartphone and snap photos. According to Sony Alpha Rumors, the tiny screenless camera will have a built-in battery and supports NFC and Wi-Fi connectivity. Once the camera is paired with your smartphone, you can use your phone’s display as a view finder for the camera, similar to standard smartphones.

The lens camera is also said to sport the same 1-inch 20.2-megapixel Exmor R sensor and f/1.8 Carl Zeiss lens found on Sony’s RX100MII shooter. Sony Alpha Rumors claims that Sony is also working on a second lens camera with a smaller sensor and larger zoom capability. As interesting as the lens camera sounds, its usefulness is questionable, as built-in smartphone cameras begin to offer ever more impressive capabilities.

MORE: Smartphone Camera Shootout 2013

The aforementioned Nokia Lumia 1020, includes a 41-megapixel imaging sensor, Carl Zeiss lens and six optical lenses. The handset also features a wide array of camera functions including its Pro Camera mode, which lets you manually configure settings including white balance, exposure and more. Better still, you can see how those functions will change your image in real-time via the Lumia 1020’s display.

Samsung is also getting in on the action with its Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. A variant of the S4, the Zoom sports a 10x optical zoom and 16-megapixel CMOS sensor. Unlike the Lumia 1020, however, the S4 Zoom is a rather bulky 7.3 ounces. 

Top 10 Gadgets for Your Geeked-Out Dorm Room

July 10th, 2013 by Daniel P. Howley, LAPTOP Senior Writer

The quintessential college dorm room is relatively small with blah cinder block walls and a pair of twin beds. And since this spartan space is going to be your home for the next year (or more), you may as well make it as comfortable as possible. If you’re a tech nerd, that means geeking out your new living quarters with some of the latest and greatest gadgets around. From super powered gaming laptops to TV’s that you can control with your smartphone, we searched high and low for the tech that will make your hallmates jealous. Just remember to leave your room on occasion. 

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