Google has officially unveiled Android Wear 2.0, the new version of its operating system for smartwatches, and two new watches from LG — one of which comes with NFC to support HCE mobile payments using Android Pay.
The first watches with Android Wear 2.0 are the LG Watch Style and LG Watch Sport. The Sport model comes with NFC for payments, dedicated buttons for Google Fit and Android Pay, and is available in the US at AT&T, Verizon and the Google Store, from 10 February.
Google says the watches will be “available at carriers and retailers across Canada, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, UAE and UK in the coming weeks”.
Verizon has also unveiled its own Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch, the Wear24, which also offers “NFC connectivity options”, The Verge reports.
Android Wear 2.0 comes with “more informative watch faces, better workouts, new ways to use apps, more ways to stay in touch and on-the-go help from the Google Assistant”, Google adds in a blogpost. The key features include:
- Google Assistant: Users can use the virtual assistant by holding down the power button on the watch or saying “Ok Google”. The assistant is “available in English and German on Android Wear and will be available in other languages in the coming months”
- Personalised watch faces: The always-on watch face will give users information and actions from users’ favourite apps
- Google Fit: The pre-installed fitness app on most Android Wear watches now lets users track pace, distance, calories burned and heart rate
- New ways to use apps: Users can download apps directly from a “new on-watch Google Play Store”.
Current watches due to be upgraded to Android Wear 2.0 include: ASUS ZenWatch 2 & 3, Casio Smart Outdoor Watch, Casio PRO TREK Smart, Fossil Q Founder, Fossil Q Marshal, Fossil Q Wander, Huawei Watch, LG G Watch R, LG Watch Urbane & 2nd Edition LTE, Michael Kors Access Smartwatches, Moto 360 2nd Gen, Moto 360 for Women, Moto 360 Sport, New Balance RunIQ, Nixon Mission, Polar M600 and TAG Heuer Connected.
The addition of support for HCE payments for Google’s wearables operating system was announced with the release of the latest and final developer preview of Android Wear 2.0 in January 2017.