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One of Android Wear’s most needed features is being tested by Google

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Android Pay has taken a step closer to being made available on an Android Wear smartwatch, rather than solely on a smartphone. References to the payment technology being added to Android Wear have been discovered in the latest version 10.0 release of Google Play Services, the app that makes updating other apps installed on your phone possible, including Google’s own.

The evidence has been discovered inside the Google Play Services code, and therefore can’t be treated as an official announcement of Android Pay on Android Wear, and instead should be seen as an indication Google is testing this type of functionality. There’s a good chance it’ll arrive in the future though, especially as Apple already integrates Apple Pay with the Apple Watch, and Samsung Pay operates through the Gear S3.

Text in the code includes prompts to check your watch through the set-up phase of a feature called “TP Wear,” which likely refers to Android Wear’s tap-and-pay feature, along with phrases such as “To use Android Pay with (device/app) add that account to your phone,” and “Try holding your watch to the terminal again.” The code follows a pattern familiar to anyone who has set up either a tap-to-pay feature, or an Android service before.

When could it arrive? Android Pay isn’t an official feature of Android Wear 2.0, the latest announced version of the wearable platform, but is considered a must-have if it’s to seriously take on the challenge from Apple and Samsung. Google delayed the launch of Android Wear 2.0 until 2017, and Android Pay integration may be a new feature being pushed through ready for its eventual release.

Manufacturers such as LG and Huawei will hold off launching new Android Wear watches until 2017 too, while rumors are spreading Google may have its own line of watches in development. The chance to use Android Pay would make these watches more desirable. For Android Pay to work on a smartwatch, an NFC chip is required, which is found in several existing Android Wear smartwatches already, including the LG Watch Urbane LTE.

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