The Mobile World Congress is under way this week, and one of the biggest tidbits of news coming out of the Barcelona, Spain event is that of LG's Watch Urbane.
The LG Watch Urbane and the LG Watch Urbane LTE were shown off this weekend as flagship devices for the South Korean tech company. The LTE edition is said to be the first 4G-based smartwatch in the world that doubles as a walkie-talkie. It also features a special feature that allows users to pay through a simple tap motion as mobile payment options become a bigger deal for 2015 an 2016.
And as an extra bit of good news for AT&T fans, the LG Watch Urbane will be carried exclusively under the At&T network when it first launches, but there is no word yet on availability from Verizon Wireless, Sprint, or T-Mobile just yet.
LG has taken an extra step forward with the Watch Urbane, straying away from the standard Android Wear operating system to develop its own webOS. As The Verge points out in its own preview of the device, "Developing its own watch OS rather than relying on the somewhat minimalist Android Wear has given LG the flexibility to offer a lot of new features; the company says that while it will continue to focus on Android Wear, it can't satisfy every customer with Google's platform. The watch faces are far more customizable, for example, letting you choose the background, watch hands, and minute marks."
The Watch Urbane was already toted as a "luxury" smartwatch that LG claims isn't set out to compete against other smartwatches, but rather to compete against other luxury fashion watches. The LTE edition, on the other hand, means business.
"But the Watch Urbane LTE's main feature by far is its cellular connectivity, which lets you answer calls, check emails, or hold walkie-talkie-style conversations with multiple people anywhere without having a smartphone connected," The Verge continues. "There are other features for hiking, cycling, playing golf, and working out, with the various sensors helping to track your performance. There's a built-in voice translator app, too, and NFC connectivity lets you use the watch for mobile payments."
While the LTE edition will require its own phone number and subsequent data plan, so far, that version has only officially been confirmed for South Korea. AT&T will be the first retailer to sell the LG Watch Urbane, but only for the non-LTE version right now. The U.S. carrier's involvement with the retail side, however, seems to hint at a cellular version coming very soon, most likely with an early exclusive for AT&T.
"AT&T is excited to add the LG Watch Urbane to its industry leading selection of wearables," sais Jeff Bradley, senior vice president of Device Marketing and Developer Services for AT&T Mobility. "LG Watch Urbane combines the style of a classic timepiece with the latest technology that makes it easy to stay connected on-the-go. It's stylish, cutting edge and convenient, so you can wear it to nearly any occasion and still receive notifications that matter most."
The LG Watch Urbane features a 1.3-inch round P-OLED display packing 320 x 320 resolution, a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 4 GB of storage, and a 700 mAh battery. The watch also features a heart rate sensor, IP67 dust and waterproof rating, and NFC support for secure wireless payments.
No price has yet been announced for the Watch Urbane or Urbane LTE, but the device is being marketed as a luxury item and is not expected to be cheap.