Where it can only be described as an ownership, Google has released a YouTube Music app for the Apple Watch … before creating an equivalent version for its own smartwatch platform, Wear OS.
This is remarkable for a number of reasons. For starters, Google is working on releasing a number of additions for YouTube Music. Earlier this week, YouTube Music got on Android TV major upgrade. Back in August, Google did the same for you play personal playlists from YouTube Music through Google Assistant. As you can expect, in both cases, Google will prioritize its own platforms. But that is not the case with Wear OS.
Typically, Big Tech tends to push new features and updates first on its own platforms. For example, Android users were the first to get a more robust set of third-party integrations with Google Assistant. IOS users will wait. And Apple is, well, Apple. You know uunahin own ecosystem—to hell with others. That’s why Google pushing a YouTube Music app for the Apple Watch is a big step.
But mehindi naman very surprising given the state of the smartwatch market. On the one hand, you have an Apple Watch. Right now it is the most popular smartwatch, with an area between 50-55% of the market, depending on alin research agency is doing math. This is often surprising, considering 74% of phones global run on Android and Apple Watch only support iOS. In the first quarter of 2020, smartwatch sales really saw a 20% increase in sales, with Apple, Samsung, and Garmin the most profitable. Wear OS …not much. According to 9to5 Google, although more Wear OS watches were sold in 2020 than in 2019, the market share actually dropped from 23.7% to 22.6% during Q1 this year.
However, what this really means is that iOS users more often than not just choose the Apple Watch because it really is the best smartwatch option for them. The same cannot be said for Android users. Smartwatch options for Android are more fragmented, and for many years, there has been no real Apple Watch successor that Android users can truly rally behind. Samsung approached, and the latest flagship, the Galaxy Watch 3, probably an Android smartwatch that can toe-to-toe with Apple. The thing is, it does not run Wear OS. It runs Samsung OS, Tizen, at it saves the best features for Samsung users, leaving non-Samsung users at a disadvantage.
This means, more often than not, Android users are split between Samsung and more fitness-oriented smartwatches that also run their own proprietary OS, including options from Garmin and Fitbit. In fact, the only Another smartwatch of the Android-friendly flagship that can compete with the Apple Watch is the Fitbit Sense, where, again, not running on Wear OS.
While 2019 is somewhat lacking in terms of new flagship smartwatches, 2020 is a completely different story. Samsung came out strong with the Galaxy Watch 3. Fitbit also seems to have gotten a miracle from which includes Sense, Versa 3, and Inspire 2. Both companies managed to catch up with Apple and get US Food and Drug Administration clearance for clinical electrocardiogram features Garmin released ang Forerunner 745, and Polar changes it Vantage line and put a pretty good entry-level smartwatch along with Unite. Wear OS, in comparison, complete break the bed.
Despite Qualcomm’s introduction a new Snapdragon Wear 4100 chip, which is expected to improve the Wear OS viewing experience, there is only one smartwatch powered by it available during the holiday season: Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 3. Fossil, which one most well-known maker of Wear OS watches, launching a slightly cheaper version of the Gen 5 watch lineup powered by the last-gen processor, the Snapdragon Wear 3100. This means that the earliest time we will see real advances in Wear OS watches is spring of next year. The updates Google launched for Wear OS this fall is underwhelming, focusing more on streamlining the interface than enabling more of the advanced features we expect in flagship smartwatches.
Not that Google does not see value in wearables. The company obtaining Fitbit is proof of that, like all lip service it pays to “ambient computing. “It’s just that any real improvements to the Wear OS will last. Hell, it might just be easier at this point to scrap it and start over, regulators must approve the Fitbit deal.
In the meantime, it appears that even Google knows it has little to gain by first installing Wear OS. That’s sad, because it just means that Android users, specifically those without Samsung phones, have very few options when it comes to a great smartwatch. Uunfortunately, it does not seem to change anytime soon.