Floating around the enormous show floor of the Fira Gran Via provides insight into the massive operation undertaken by the companies involved. Expensive showcases, hot lights, soft carpets, and teams of well-trained staff endeavour to make visitors to their booths a pleasant experience. Some companies succeed more than others.
LG’s booth is awash in fake hardwood flooring, searing lights (great for photos, but my goodness they’re hot!), and well-spoken representatives. I was able to take a look at the Watch Urbane, and it’s newly-announced LTE counterpart, the Watch Urbane LTE, during a visit to the booth, and came away impressed with LG’s prospects, both for Android Wear and wearables in general.
The Watch Urbane may be a derivative of the G Watch R, but its metal housing feels substantial and incredibly well-built, with exposed screws, and machined, glossy finish not unlike many fashion watches from companies like Guess and Diesel.
Under the hood, however, is a fairly typical Android Wear rollout with a few features specific to LG devices. Running Android Wear 5.0.2, users can snap photos from their smartphone remotely using the watch’s touchscreen, or trigger a lost phone signal from the wrist. Like all other Android Wear devices, it supports fitness tracking using Google Fit, though LG is quick to point out that its heart rate sensor is better than the competitors.
Perhaps the more interesting of the two products is the new LG Watch Urbane LTE, a device built upon the new LG Wearable Platform, a derivative of webOS that the company has altered to suit the wrist. Because Android Wear doesn’t currently support a cellular stack, LG was forced to develop a custom operating system, including a miniature keyboard and dialler, so that when the device launches in Korea this month it can connect to the country’s excellent 4G networks.
LG isn’t disclosing how it plans to fill the Watch Urbane LTE’s coffers with apps, but the device comes with a large 700mAh battery and plenty of first-party experiences, including a fitness tracker, music player and mobile payment solution using the built-in NFC chip.
LG is keeping mum about pricing and availability for both of these models, but they’re clearly going to be expensive, likely meeting the Apple Watch on its level.