Google is adding support for host card emulation (HCE) based NFC payments to smartwatches in Android Wear 2.0, the new version of its operating system for smartwatches which is scheduled to be released in early February 2017.
The addition of support for HCE payments was announced with the release of the latest and final developer preview of Android Wear 2.0. Developer Preview 5 also brings compatibility with iOS devices, meaning third-party app developers will be able to make their apps available to iPhone users who own an Android Wear smartwatch for the first time.
The company confirmed earlier this month that it will launch two flagship smartwatches that include support for Android Pay mobile payments in the first quarter of 2017. According to TechnoBuffalo, the devices have been built in collaboration with LG — one will be called the LG Watch Sport, while the second will be called the LG Watch Style.
“Both watches are supposed to make their debut at a Google-hosted event on February 9, where we should learn about Google Assistant integration into the new wearables,” the publication says.
Handset giant Huawei is set to release an Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch, while luxury watchmaker Tag Heuer’s CEO Jean-Claude Biver told Swiss newspaper NZZ that it will also be launching a second generation smartwatch in May with Android Wear 2.0 compatibility.
“In this release, we have added iOS support and included a number of bug fixes and enhancements,” Google writes in a blog post announcing the final preview version of the smartwatch update.
“Apps compiled with this preview are now ready for final submission to the Google Play Store, so it’s time to publish your apps — be sure to publish your apps before the Android Wear 2.0 consumer launch in early February.”