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Phones with unlocked bootloaders don't mix with Android Pay on Wear 2.0

A new report says that the Android Pay app for Android Wear 2.0 won't work if the phone that's paired with the watch has an unlocked bootloader.

Published onFebruary 8, 2017

The newly-launched Android Wear 2.0 includes support for a native Android Pay app, which will allow some smartwatches with the OS to handle wireless payments much like the smartphone version does. However, there is one rather big exception to this rule: Android Pay won’t work with an Android Wear 2.0 device if the phone that’s paired with it has an unlocked bootloader.

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The issue, which was first reported by Android Police, will certainly affect many people who wanted to get an Android Wear 2.0 watch. While the Android Pay watch app is designed to handle payments on its own without a phone, you still need one for the initial setup process. In the case of a phone with an unlocked bootloader, the Android Pay app on Android Wear 2.0 won’t allow you to add your credit card.

Apparently, this move was made by Google in order to appease the many payment networks that allow access to Android Pay. It sounds like this is due to security concerns with phones that have  unlocked bootloaders, but so far the company has yet to come up with more specific reasons. The good news is that if you lock up the bootloader on your phone, you can get it to work with Android Pay on Android Wear 2.0, but at the cost of wiping your phone.

Hopefully, Google will provide more information on this move to partially restrict Android Pay on Wear 2.0 in the near future. However, at least on the surface, this looks like a response to keep the payment companies like Visa and Mastercard happy. There have certainly been a ton of online credit card breaches in the past few years, and those businesses most likely didn’t like the prospect of a phone that allowed apps outside of the Google Play Store to be installed.

Do you think this was a wise move by Google, or is this a case of a big overreaction? Let us know your opinions in the comments!

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