In a somewhat late turn of events, Google will finally enable tap-to-pay on Android smartwatches shortly. Even though the technology giant was one of the first to develop proper smartwatches for the general public, the software capabilities leave much to be desired. Tap-to-pay solutions are direly needed, as competitors Apple and Samsung integrated those features quite some time ago.
Tap-to-pay on Android Smartwatches Is on The Horizon
According to Android Police, tap-to-pay support has been discovered in an updated version of the Google Play Service for Android Wear. Google appears to be in the final stages of testing this feature. Judging by the information, tapping an NFC-capable smartwatch in a payment terminal is only a matter of time.
Using Android-based smartwatches in a tap-and-pay setting has been possible for some time. However, there are quite a few requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to enjoy this feature. First of all, one needs to own a Samsung Gear S3 and use Samsung Pay to complete the transaction. This is not the most optimal scenario for the average Android user by any means.
That said, Samsung made their payment service available to other Android smartphone brands, although it still requires a Tizen OS smartwatch. Apple users, on the other hand, have been enjoying tap-and-go functionality for over a year, thanks to the Apple Watch and Apple Pay integration. It is safe to say that Google is very late to the party, albeit no one knows why exactly.
This news comes at a time when wearables seem to be losing ever more popularity than ever previously. The devices are rather disappointing despite the initial hype. Intel recently announced that they will scale back wearable development to cut costs. A shrinking playing field could be positive for companies such as Google, though.
Google is also partially to blame for the lack of Android smartwatch adoption. The delay of Android Wear 2.0, the device operating system, does not sit well with a lot of consumers. This additional time, though, has not been wasted, as engineers spent countless hours improving software and enhancing the user experience.
Even though the code has been discovered in the Google Play Services update, it is doubtful whether tap-to-pay will be enabled until Android Wear 2.0 comes along. Several new smartwatches have been rumored to be released around that time as well, which could indicate a major push by Google to get this project off the ground.
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