Most teardowns show a list of fairly predictable features or changes, but every once in a while something will turn up that isn't so expected. A look inside the recently released Android Pay v1.10 update is a good example. The typical things can be found, like a line about a second tier for loyalty programs and some stuff to encourage users to visit nearby vendors, but the really interesting bit is some text about a "game" that may have real prizes.
We haven't seen any signs to suggest new features have actually gone live with this update, but keep an eye out for things that may be tied to a specific account or only show up under special circumstances. As usual, there's a link at the bottom where you can download the latest apk for quick installation.
The features discussed below are probably not live yet, or may only be live for a small percentage of users. Unless stated otherwise, don't expect to see these features if you install the apk.
A game? With Prizes?
This isn't a joke, Android Pay is going to have some kind of "game" built into it, at least that's the way it looks from a new set of strings using a "tap_game" prefix. Common sense suggests this will be a promotion of some kind, but it's too early to guess if this is going to be a short-term deal or something that sticks around for a while. In fact, it's not really possible to tell what kind of game this is or how it will work; however, a few general details can be discerned from what is available.
To begin with, the game involves coins. In all likelihood, these are tokens that users either earn through purchases or following the steps of a promotion.
<string name="tap_game_counter">%1$s of %2$s coins</string>
Next, a pair of error messages make it clear that this isn't just a game to play for fun, there's a chance to win something. The body text of both messages clearly indicates players will be able to receive prizes from this game. Also, there will be a "Shop. Tap. Reward. card" which will likely be the place to go for redeeming prizes.
<string name="tap_game_no_network_header">A network connection is needed to open the cracker</string>
<string name="tap_game_no_network_subheader">Check your network connection and give it another go.</string>
<string name="tap_game_no_network_body">You can also find out if you won a prize later. Well send you a notification to remind you or you can go to the Shop. Tap. Reward. card in your Android Pay app.</string>
<string name="tap_game_unknown_header">Lets try that one more time</string>
<string name="tap_game_unknown_subheader">Something went wrong. Try opening the cracker again.</string>
<string name="tap_game_unknown_body">You can also find out if you won a prize later. Well send you a notification to remind you or you can go to the Shop. Tap. Reward. card in your Android Pay app.</string>
What isn't clear from the previous group is what it means to "open the cracker." It obviously refers to some element of the game, but that's not very telling. Perhaps this is a holiday promotion referencing The Nutcracker. But even that feels like quite a stretch.
If users aren't interested in joining the game, or perhaps they're not legally allowed to accept prizes due to employment, it's possible to opt out.
<string name="tap_game_opt_out_button">Opt out</string>
<string name="tap_game_opt_out_dialog_title">Opt out of the game?</string>
The one remaining detail is that Android Pay will encourage users to share something about the game with their friends. It's not clear if you'll be sharing a screenshot, an image, a message, or even just an invite; but what you can see is that Google isn't shying away from making options available. There's a share graphic including logos for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and good ol' email. So at least it's clear Google means business about raising awareness.
<string name="tap_game_share">Tell your friends</string>
If I'm right about the Nutcracker connection, it's a safe bet that we'll probably hear details within the next couple of weeks. Otherwise, it may be a while before we know what exactly is happening with this game and what it's really about.
The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.