Wear OS gains a popular new app today that many have been waiting for, as Spotify announced that it’s bringing a stand-alone wearable app to Google’s smartwatch platform.
Spotify’s stand-alone app lets you browse and control music from your wrist. It seems to be a lighter version of Spotify’s mobile app, allowing you to browse your tracks and playlists and quickly save songs to your library.
You can also control playback from your wrist—it appears similar to Wear OS’ native music controls, just built into a dedicated Spotify app.
The Wear OS app also integrates with Spotify Connect, the company’s method of connecting and controlling playback on Bluetooth devices. Now from your wrist, you can manage connections between Bluetooth speakers, laptops, and other devices and quickly change the playback source.
The Spotify Wear OS app uses any available connectivity, including Wi-Fi, LTE, and Bluetooth, to play music. Unlike Tizen’s Spotify app, the Wear OS app doesn’t support downloading music for offline playback. That will inevitably disappoint those with Wear OS smartwatches with enough onboard storage to hold a couple of playlists.
When asked about offline support, Spotify offered Ars this statement: “We’re excited to introduce a standalone Spotify app for Wear OS by Google smartwatches. This is the first version of the app, and we will continue to improve the Spotify experience.” While that’s vague, it hints at the possibility of offline support being added in the future.
Earlier this month, Spotify brought its standalone app to Garmin Fenix 5 wearables. Like the Tizen app, Garmin’s Spotify app lets Garmin high-end smartwatch owners download and play music directly from the device on their wrists via connected Bluetooth headphones.
With Wear OS joining the group now, the major wearable platforms remaining are Fitbit OS and Apple’s watchOS. Fitbit’s smartwatches can currently download and play personal files as well as playlists from Pandora and Deezer (paid subscribers only). All Apple Watch owners can download iTunes music for offline listening, and those with LTE-enabled Watches can stream tracks from Apple Music. The Now Playing app on Apple Watches lets users control Spotify smartphone playback, but there isn’t a dedicated Spotify app for watchOS, nor can Spotify Premium users download music for offline listening.
It’s likely that Spotify will partner with Fitbit before it will partner with Apple. Apple’s recent strategy uses its hardware to promote its software and services—making Apple Music the sole music source on the Apple Watch is in line with that strategy. Apple already restricts its $350 HomePod to mostly Apple-owned music sources.
Spotify partnered with Fossil Group to pre-install the standalone app on all Fossil Gen 4 smartwatches and Michael Kors Access Runway smartwatches that come out starting this November. The Spotify app will roll out for all other Wear OS users over the next week.