Google has finally released a Wear OS app for YouTube Music, which is certainly good news for those who have been waiting for an official way to play their music from Google’s streaming service after the company shut down Google Play Music on Wear OS. in August. 2020.
First of all…
What is Wear OS?
Wear OS, previously known as Android Wear, is a more popular version of Google’s Android system designed and streamlined to work with smartwatches and other portable devices such as on-board computers.
However, as in most cases with new Google products, the new app comes with a few caveats.
The most important and obvious is that the app will only work on Wear OS 3. Now Wear OS 3 is currently available on Samsung’s two new smartwatches announced on August 27, 2021 which means that unless you have a Galaxy Watch 4 or Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, you won’t be able to use the app for a while until other companies roll out their smartwatches to Wear OS 3 over the next few months.
Google unnecessary obstacles
Personally, I think locking the YouTube Music app only on Wear OS 3 is that Google is fragmenting its users for no particular reason.
A highlight of this is that Spotify, one of YouTube Music’s main rivals, has rolled out an update to older Wear OS devices with offline playback. So why is Google apparently unable to do the same with the YouTube Music app?
One possible explanation is that Google, by depriving users of updates to their old devices, could be forced to acquire the newer ones running Wear OS 3, which would allow the company to earn more in the long run, or so. may just be a case of a company being lazy, which is less likely to be the case.
You might have already thought about loading the app on an older Wear OS 2-based watch, but unfortunately that won’t be an option. The YouTube Music app is written with Android 11 as the minimum API level, while older Wear OS 2 watches are based on the much older Android 9 (Pie).
The Google Music Wear OS app that was shut down had more features and wider compatibility than YouTube Music.
More warnings about the YouTube Music app on Wear OS 3
If you get through the more difficult parts of acquiring a device that runs Wear OS 3, a few more boring details await. According to 9to5Google, There doesn’t seem to be a way to stream music from the app.
You will only have access to the music you downloaded which is more annoying, songs can only be downloaded when the watch is on a charger, 9to5Google reports after having a special hand with the app.
Granted, the culture of wearable devices and smartwatches is still in its infancy in Kenya, but progress in all areas is still welcome despite Google’s best efforts to exclude some of its users from the ecosystem and force an upgrade.
As usual, Google has not shared any details on when the app might be available on other Wear OS devices.
To note: YouTube Music remains inaccessible in Kenya and the app, as currently available, is only good for playing local media.