Update: The premium version is on sale today (July 2nd) for $1.49, or 50% off its regular price. Just press the Google Play icon from within the phone app to upgrade.
Have you ever found yourself standing in line at a coffee shop and thought to yourself, “Man, I really wish I could watch that video of the squirrel playing a tiny violin”? Me too! Fortunately for both of us, our prayers have been answered: Wear Video Tube will stream videos from your Android smartphone to your Wear watch.
You may think the app I’m talking about is some sort of joke—a half-hearted, half-assed video player for ants that doesn’t even work very well. You’d be wrong. Straight away once you download and launch Wear Video Tube it begins downloading the app to your watch, and from the smartphone you choose which Google account to access your personalized YouTube content from.
You can’t watch videos from your subscriptions unless you cough up $2.99 for the premium version, though. Doing so gives you the ability to both watch videos from your subscriptions on your watch but also choose which channels show up on the watch. The free version just gives you a hodgepodge of content from the “Most Popular” YouTube feed.
The Wear app itself is pretty functional and well thought out, too. Launching into the watch interface you get a search button and below it a list of videos from the channels and feeds you’ve selected on your phone. Choose a video and after a brief few seconds of buffering (dependent on your connection speed, of course), and it will begin to play with some basic playback UI buttons that stay on the screen for about 2 seconds and reappear with a single tap. Swiping left you get a card with the video information including the title and description. Continuing to swipe left brings up more options including a button to access related videos, cast to a Google Cast-compatible device, and open the video on your phone.
Are you actually going to use this regularly? I tried to survive through a couple of minutes of “Only In Monroe” with special guest Jimmy Fallon, but even with my 20/20 vision and near-perfect hearing I found it hard to enjoy the video through tiny speakers and a screen so small I could barely see what was going on. And there’s no ability to sync the audio to play through the headphones connected to your phone either, so you’ll need a Bluetooth pair to really get decent sound.
So no, you probably won’t use it very often—casting is the most utilitarian function of this app, but if you don’t have an Android Wear watch with WiFi support you’d need your phone on you anyway. One better answer to the why of this app is because I can. It’s fun to test the limits of these new technologies to really see what’s possible. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a good use for it.