Wear OS smartwatches finally get a feature owners have requested for years

Your Android smartwatch is about to become a much better travel companion

Wear OS smartwatch
(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)
Quick Summary

Wear OS is getting an update that will allow users to access transit passes, boarding passes, tickets, loyalty cards and more.

Supported smartwatches will also get more enhanced travel directions, which means that users can navigate from their wrist without needing their phone.

Google is pushing out an update for Wear OS that's going to add a couple of features that will make your Pixel Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch so much smarter – and really enhance the experience when travelling.

Announced as part of Google's Mobile World Congress reveals, Wear OS is going to be getting an expanded Google Wallet experience, with access to more of your cards from your wrist. This will give you access to transit passes, boarding passes, tickets, loyalty cards and more. Basically it's going to expand to cover all the goodness that you find in the Wallet app on your Android phone.

That's going to make it much easier when you come to a barrier, as you can just use your Wear OS device to authenticate yourself, rather than having to dig your phone out of your pocket. It also means that Wear OS devices will better rival the Apple Watch, currently regarded as the best smartwatch.

You'll be able to scroll through your various passes and tap on them to open a QR code that you'll then be able to scan.

Elsewhere, Wear OS is also getting more enhanced travel directions. This will mean you can navigate from your watch, scrolling through to see detailed instructions and have guidance running right on your watch, without needing your phone – including compass directions to keep you on the right path.

Navigation already existed on Wear OS, reflecting the directions that would come from your phone, but this new update should give Android watch wearers a more complete experience when navigating - and leaving that phone securely in a pocket.

Mobile World Congress is well underway in Barcelona, and aside from Google's announcements, we've seen the Honor 6 Pro get an official launch, along with the Xiaomi 14 Series getting an international launch - but headlines are being taken by HMD's Barbie flip phone announcement and more details on the Samsung Galaxy Ring.

Chris Hall

Chris has been writing about consumer tech for over 15 years. Formerly the Editor-in-Chief of Pocket-lint, he's covered just about every product launched, witnessed the birth of Android, the evolution of 5G, and the drive towards electric cars. You name it and Chris has written about it, driven it or reviewed it. Now working as a freelance technology expert, Chris' experience sees him covering all aspects of smartphones, smart homes and anything else connected. Chris has been published in titles as diverse as Computer Active and Autocar, and regularly appears on BBC News, BBC Radio, Sky, Monocle and Times Radio. He was once even on The Apprentice... but we don't talk about that.