YouTube Music was launched yesterday on the Apple Watch and arrived in front of an official Wear OS version, only further illustrating Google’s ongoing issues with its competing portable platform. The app – available to YouTube Music Premium and YouTube Premium subscribers – reflects all the same features that it launched on iOS, but now in compact watchOS format. Users can stream, control playback and even cast music from their wrists, complete with a nice complication to Apple Watch watches.
Landing on Apple Watch first shows Google’s commitment to increasing YouTube Music̵
The release of Qualcomm’s newer chips, the Snapdragon Wear 4100 and 4100 Plus, aims to address the speed issues that plague previous Wear OS devices. Paired with a Wear OS update this fall that focuses on streamlined interface elements, there is hope that Google’s partners can develop devices that are better suited to compete with Apple’s market dominance. Google has reportedly also been trying for some time to get its own internal smartwatch hardware off the ground after a failed attempt back in 2016.
That may be where Fitbit, which Google acquired last year, comes in. Fitbit’s team is an excellent addition to Google’s own, but acquiring the former of health data is another matter. Obstacles to the closure of the EU agreement and the long-term prospects of integrating the two companies’ hardware teams mean that the release of a true “Pixel Smartwatch” will take longer. Google has not given up on Wear OS, but the way forward is unclear – and the platform is not growing fast enough to be of greater use to YouTube Music than Apple Watch.