The irony hasn’t escaped most people’s attention that Google’s wearable platform doesn’t have an app for Google’s music streaming service. Adding insult to injury, Google did launch a YouTube Music app for smartwatches but only for Apple’s smartwatches. At long last, a Wear OS version of that app has finally been announced and has started rolling out, but it still won’t placate Wear OS owners because it will only serve the few dozen new owners of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series.
There is a small but persistent userbase of smartwatch owners that prefer having music available on their wrists so they can leave the phone at home when going out for a run or something similar. For quite some time, Google Play Music provided that functionality on Android Wear and, later, Wear OS, but Play Music went quietly into the night last year. Unfortunately, moving over to YouTube Music hasn’t exactly been smooth, leaving Wear OS users with no equivalent for their smartwatches.
Trying to prove that it still cares about its wearable platform, Google boasted about its collaboration with Samsung to get Wear OS in tip-top shape. The upcoming Wear OS 3 update will bring quite a number of new features, and some of those will even make it to the current crop of Wear OS smartwatches. Unfortunately, the new YouTube Music Wear OS app won’t be one of those.
The YouTube Music app on Google Play Store now includes screenshots of the new Wear OS app, signaling its soft launch. It’s more than a soft launch, though, as the official help document clearly states that it only works with Wear OS devices powered by Samsung. At the moment, that includes only the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.
Whether Google has plans to bring the app to older Wear OS smartwatches still isn’t clear at this point. It’s definitely a huge disappointment for faithful Wear OS owners, as the YouTube Music app offers that much-desired offline playback feature. They might want to give the new Spotify app a try, though, since that now offers a similar function and is available on all Wear OS smartwatches.