Google earlier this year brought the YouTube Music app to Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic watches which both run Wear OS 3. It is now doing the same to older Wear OS watches running Wear OS 2. Not all watches will get it at immediately, though. The company will deliver it first to a select few Android smartwatches, before then rolling it out to more devices “later this year” via the Google Play Store.
The initial app rollout will come sometime this week, and it’ll hit the Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch (Michael Kors Access 6 version included), the Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 3 GPS, the TicWatch Pro 3 Cellular/LTE, and the TicWatch E3. While Google doesn’t exactly say it, these watches are all more powerful Snapdragon Wear 4100 watches. It’s possible the company still needs more time to optimize the app for older Wear OS watches which typically have much weaker hardware.
As for the YouTube Music app itself, it appears to be the same app that’s currently available for Wear OS 3. Users can expect to stream music ad-free, listen to curated playlists, or take their own playlists and albums offline via YouTube’s Smart Downloads feature.
While Google may have launched a new version of Wear OS, most people aren’t going to see it for a very long time. The company could have won Samsung over with a Wear OS 3 exclusivity period, after which other Wear OS watchmakers will be able to load the device onto their devices. This is why Google is supporting older Wear OS versions as well as the new ones, rather than locking its newest features behind a new version update. Other than YouTube Music, Google also brought updates to older products including Gboard, the Google Play app, Google Messages, and Google Pay just over a month ago.
YouTube Music was especially needed on Wear OS. While Google has previously supported Google Play Music on its watch platform, killing off the service without a replacement had left a gap in the experience. Although Spotify existed, the app did not support offline playback until a few weeks ago. Google’s support may have been late, but (to resort to cliche) it’s better late than never.