Today LG pre-announced significant additions to their high-end wearable, the LG Watch Urbane, via a new edition called the LG Watch Urbane LTE. Both devices will officially launch at Mobile World Congress next week. From a feature standpoint, the LG Watch Urbane LTE adds more wireless functionality via the inclusion of LTE, VoLTE (not 3G voice), GPS, and NFC.

These additions dramatically expand LG's ability to cover the movement use case of wearables and places the Watch Urbane LTE alongside the Samsung Gear S as the only devices to include cellular functionality. This provides a safety net when making a fitness excursion, as emergency calls are now possible. LG had this use case in mind specifically as they included a single key press to initiate an emergency call. Additionally, the inclusion of NFC enables mobile payments, although LG has not yet provided details on how this works. Finally, LG has dramatically increased the battery size from 410mAH to 700mAH, which will help immensely with powering the LTE radio. I should note this is the largest battery I have seen to date in a wearable.

From an industry perspective, the most interesting part of this announcement is that LG has ditched Android Wear which was used for the non-LTE edition of the Watch Urbane. As Android Wear does not support NFC payments or cellular, this was a necessity to bring the Watch Urbane LTE to market, but it highlights that device makers like LG and Samsung are not waiting for Google to add functionality. Google needs to improve the pace of Android Wear updates if they want to keep their partners using the platform.

  LG Watch Urbane LTE LG Watch Urbane
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz
Memory 1GB LPDDR3 512MB LPDDR3
Display 1.3" plastic OLED (320 x 320, 245ppi) 1.3" plastic OLED (320 x 320, 245ppi)
Storage 4GB eMMC 4GB eMMC
Wireless LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0
Ingress protection IP67 IP67
Battery 700mAH 410mAH
Sensors Gyro, accelerometer, compass, barometer, heart rate, GPS Gyro, accelerometer, compass, barometer, heart rate
I/O Touch screen, buttons, speaker, microphone Touch screen, buttons, microphone
OS LG Custom Android
"LG Wearable Platform Operating System"
Android Wear

Update: It appears the watch might not run a customized Android distribution but rather something more custom. LG describes it as "LG Wearable Platform Operating System". Other news are reporting this as WebOS derived but nothing has been confirmed from LG. WebOS would be impressive considering we haven't seen a version including VoLTE.

Price and availability remain unknown. Look for additional details as Mobile World Congress 2015 begins next week.

Source: LG Newsroom

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  • wolrah - Thursday, February 26, 2015 - link

    Anyone else here who thinks it would be nice for them to put the bigger battery and 1GB RAM in the non-LTE one as well? I couldn't care less about my watch being a phone, but more battery and less restrictive hardware are both good things.

    I just want an Android Wear device with a round display, either OLED or e-ink, and a large enough battery to get me through two normal days (basically allowing for one night of forgetting to charge it). A near doubling of the battery size on the non-LTE model would put it pretty close to ticking all my boxes.
  • diddlydoo - Thursday, February 26, 2015 - link

    Dear AnandTech: consider compiling a data base of component (chip, etc) suppliers of wearables. This is a hot segment in the global equity markets right now. Would be good for your business, and for researchers like me too.
  • fluxtatic - Friday, February 27, 2015 - link

    Not much of a researcher if you're trying to get AT to do the heavy lifting for you, no?
  • FunBunny2 - Friday, February 27, 2015 - link

    :) :) ^^
  • cjb110 - Friday, February 27, 2015 - link

    Maybe Google hasn't introduced them to Wear as the actual UX hasn't been worked out to be usable...LG and esp Samsung do have a habit of shoving in features and forgetting about that part...on a watch is even more important that the features are useable.
  • fteoath64 - Saturday, February 28, 2015 - link

    Well s perfect example is Sony SmartWatch 3. It has NFC, Wifi and GPS, These things Wear still does not support!. Huh?!, if coding that hard, or coders in Google are idiots as Linus Travals has said before ?. For such a scaled down OS, it has to be easier to get primitive functions working below the API level at the driver level. There arent's any patent restrictions on such code as they are standardized. Even can be custom tuned to be almost perfect by now. Still we are not seeing it.
    Google must be waiting for a strong rival like Apple to release something before they get off their butts to really work!. Its a crying shame for such a large company supposely having "unlimited" resources at its disposal.
  • sonicmerlin - Saturday, February 28, 2015 - link

    They're waiting to copy the Apple Watch. Just like they'll probably do to MS's Hololens.
  • Pissedoffyouth - Friday, February 27, 2015 - link

    "the most interesting part of this announcement is that LG has ditched Andorid Wear "

    The word you're after is Android. A few articles have had shocking spellcheck lately.
  • Notmyusualid - Friday, February 27, 2015 - link

    As an owner of a Gear 2, and a Gear S I can say that with the Gear 2, the battery life was kind of OK - couple of days mostly. The Gear S, hmm, not so good - a full day if you are lucky. I think it is 300mAh in capacity.

    Now, 700mAh sounds amazing, it really does - and it'll need it.

    With my Gear S being purchased for running (the GPS you see), I can say that running the GPS, and the music player (bluetooth) ,whilst running, can drain the battery by ~35 to 40% with an hours' use.

    But that round screen... Samsung has it right with the big beautiful portrait-type screen. It is actually useful.

    However, the inclusion of buttons on the side would be a God-send. why do I have to swipe for everything, when we've had buttons on watches forever? In addtion, my motorcycle-racing-style jacket is enough to press the screen often enough so as to make unintended calls. I have called abroad (at bad hours too), and rang my previously-dialled numbers on a couple more occasions too. I'd like to see it where you couldn't wake the device, without first pressing a side button.

    And when running, it would be better if nothing could cancel the running program, save for a side button start / stop too. I've exited my running tracker whilst trying to change music. Not good. Side buttons again.

    Furthermore - I care not a jot for LTE in a device like this, though it would not hurt connectivity & some functionality I guess, but I use 2G mode on my Gear S, so as to increase battery life.

    Finally, the ability to use a normal watch strap cannot be underestimated, my Gear 2 can, but the Gear S, nope. And the watch strap on the Gear S is starting to come away on the top left, which may prompt a return to the Samsung store for an exchange.

    Bring on the new wearables I say...
  • sonicmerlin - Saturday, February 28, 2015 - link

    That's a huge battery capacity increase. How did they do that? Are they using new tech? Maybe the solid state batteries from SolidEnergy?

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