The update for Google Play Services to push it to version 8.1 has begun rolling out now. The intrepid AndroidPolice have done their teardown and we’re learning that Android Pay, Google Wallet’s replacement is just around the corner. Android Pay aims to relaunch Google’s take on NFC payments after the stagnation of Google Wallet for years. There had recently been some internal Google memos and promotional material that leaked pointing to an August 26th launch but it looks like now additional updates were needed to push functionality for Android Pay.
With the new Google Play Services update Android Pay is now baked into the system but you won’t be able to use it yet. Google will still have to make some changes server side before anyone can start using their wireless payments. With the number of promotional stickers showing up at places like Subway and McDonalds, you’d have to imagine that it’s right around the corner.
It seems there has also been some progress on the long rumored Kids Accounts as well. According to AP, the feature has been featured in 5 tear downs in the last 9 months. Google hasn’t officially given word about the kid friendly feature but there is definitely evidence of its existence. As the father of a three year old who likes to press buttons, I can’t wait for this feature. There have been Android OEMs that have baked in their own versions of kid friendly spaces in their skins but native support would make a lot of sense for Android. Apple currently dominates the tablet space for children but this could be a growth area for Android and Google and this feature would be a great selling point.
Finally we see a new naming structure for naming scheme for variants of Google Play Services. There are many different versions of Google Play Services out in the world set to satisfy specific different qualifications. What will work on one phone may not work on another so they get different versions of Google Play Services. Normally you’ll see your version end in something like -238. That indicates which version of Android you are on, your CPU type and screen density, in that order. In 8.1, versions beginning with a ‘4’ are now for Android 6.0. Previously you’d be looking for 4 or 7 to determine if the device was running Lollipop but now a ‘2’ as the first number will indicate Lollipop. If you tend to flash Google Play Services from sources like APK Mirror, this will be a big change for you.