YouTube Music launched yesterday on the Apple Watch, arrives before the official version of Wear OS and only further illustrates Google’s current problems with its competing wearability platform. The app – available to YouTube Music Premium and YouTube Premium subscribers – reflects all the same features it launched on iOS, but now in a compact form on watchOS. Users can stream, control playback and even transfer music from their wrist, along with a nice complication for Apple Watch watches.
The Apple Watch landing first demonstrates Google’s commitment to growing YouTube Music̵
The release of Qualcomm’s newer chips, the Snapdragon Wear 4100 and 4100 Plus, aims to solve the speed issues that have hurt past Wear OS devices. Combined with an update to Wear OS this fall, which focuses on streamlined interface elements, Google’s partners hope to be able to develop devices better suited to compete with Apple’s dominance in the market. It has also been reported that Google has been trying for some time to remove its own internal smartwatch hardware after a failed attempt in 2016.
This may be where Fitbit, which Google acquired last year, comes from. The Fitbit team makes a great addition to Google’s own, but acquiring the former’s health data series is another matter. Obstacles to the EU deal and the long-term prospect of integrating the two companies’ hardware teams mean that the release of a true Pixel Smartwatch will take longer. Google hasn’t given up on Wear OS, but the way forward is unclear – and the platform isn’t growing fast enough to be of greater use to YouTube Music than the Apple Watch.