Wear OS finally gets offline Spotify playback

(Pocket-lint) – Wear OS smartwatch users are finally getting a way to listen to offline music and podcasts from Spotify, with the feature detailed as part of Google I/O 2021.

The long-awaited offline streaming hasn’t been made available in the latest release – which has seen Samsung merge its Tizen software with Wear OS – but Spotify indicated during the I/O presentation that the feature was in the works.

It should allow Wear users to leave their phones behind and still enjoy all the benefits of their linked Spotify account. It’s something that has long been available to Samsung and Garmin watches – and even Apple Watch owners, as of late 2020, providing that the iPhone has an internet connection and the Watch is on a cellular plan.

Now, Google’s Wear OS is catching up, and the offline music support isn’t ending with Spotify. The search engine giant’s own YouTube Music is also getting a long-overdue bit of native support for the smartwatch platform.

And given that Google is promising that this new era of Wear OS, with the help of Samsung, will bring faster performance, longer battery life and easier tools for app developers, this may be the start of more frequent updates for the platform.

“New tools, like a Tiles API and a watch face design editor built by Samsung, make it a breeze to develop new experiences on wearables,” Google suggested in a blog post detailing the new changes.

“New and rebuilt apps from developers like Strava, Adidas Running, Bitmoji and many more are coming to the platform.”

Given how far Google is currently lagging behind Apple in the smartwatch stakes, simply catching up with long-awaited features like Spotify app support is the only place to start. 

And though the prospect of Wear OS and Tizen unifying is perhaps the most exciting development in the smartwatch industry for half a decade, the real work to leapfrog watchOS begins now – and will continue with OEMs also looking to implement the new iteration.

Check back here when the Spotify update lands on Wear OS, as we’ll be detailing exactly how to use it.

Writing by Conor Allison.

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