Android Pay has been around the US on mobile devices for about a year and has just hit the UK. We thought Google I/O would see some sort of announcement for Android Pay on the wrist as part of the big Android Wear update, but it didn’t happen. Still, it may show up later.
We asked Android Wear lead product manager Jeff Chang if it’s a feature Google will employ and while he said it’s not something the company’s going to discuss, he did have other interesting things to say.
“It’s not something we’re ready to announce yet but we definitely believe in that use case. If you think about it, when you go on a run, you don’t want to have to strap your phone on your arm. You want to be able to know where you are or track your stats. With this watch (the LG Urbane Watch 2 with LTE), you do a phone call, messaging, or you want to be able to listen to music – and you want to be able to pay for something.”
The impending Android Wear 2.0 update lets you use your smartwatch untethered so in theory, you should be able to use NFC payments without needing a phone.
There’s some time before 2.0 is released meaning we could very well see Android Pay as a surprise addition. If not, the standalone feature certainly opens up the possibility for Pay down the line. After all, Samsung Gear S2 has Samsung Pay and Apple Watch has Apple Pay – it even sounds like Fitbit will start on NFC payments. It’s about time Google adds its own smartwatch payment system too.