The current batch of Android Wear smartwatches may pack their share of smarts, but they all rely on a paired smartphone or Wi-Fi for connectivity. LG is breaking the tether with its LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition, which is set to be the first Android Wear device to boast in-built cellular connectivity for a data connection or taking calls without a smartphone.
LTE and 3G joining the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity has resulted in the body of the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition being a little chunkier than its predecessor, the LG Watch Urbane. The new device measures 44.5 x 14.2 mm to the original Watch Urbane's 52 x 10.9 mm, however, with the taller body comes a slightly larger display with higher resolution. Where the original sported a 1.3-inch, 320 x 320 pixel round P-OLED screen with 245 ppi, the 2nd Edition features a 1.38-inch, 480 x 480 pixel P-OLED screen with 348 ppi.
The new watch also gets in-built GPS for location tracking and a boost in battery capacity, up from 410 mAh to 570 mAh. LG says that, in combination with its Power Saving Mode, the watch will last "throughout the day and more." Whereas the original only had one physical button, the Urbane 2nd Edition sports three. These allow activation/deactivation of Ambient mode (where a pared-down version of the display is always on), and quick access to favorite apps and settings.
Like its predecessor, the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition is powered by a 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 CPU and features 4 GB of onboard storage. It is also IP67 rated, providing dust and water resistance.
Potential buyers will have a few extra color options to choose from, with the device coming in Space Black, Opal Blue, Luxe White and Signature Brown – however availability may vary by market.
This isn't the first smartwatch we've seen with built-in cellular capabilities (Samsung is set to launch its second, and LG made a similar-looking non-Android Wear-running version of the Urbane earlier this year), but none of them have exactly set the world on fire. It's hard to see many people wanting to leave their phones at home on a regular basis, so the solo-flying watches end up largely relegated to occasional uses like trips to the gym or jogs. When you consider the tradeoffs in thickness, weight and (often) price, it's easy to see why Bluetooth/Wi-Fi only watches have been much more popular so far. That could, however, change in time.
LG hasn't revealed a price or release date for the Watch Urbane 2nd Edition, but says the US and Korea will be the first to get the device, with Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Asia and the Middle East to follow.
Some active types can be seen enjoying some phone-free time in the video below.