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LG Launches Smartwatch Ahead of Apple, Competition Heats Up

February 27, 2015

LG Watch Urbane

LG Watch Urbane — yes that’s what the moniker is for the latest smartwatch unveiled by LG in the middle of February. The watch is clad in a metal body which is what makes it a standout in contrast to LG’s earlier model G Watch R (GWR) released earlier. When it comes to guts and the actual software (which of course, is Android), there’s little that’s different from the earlier G Watch R, which had a plastic build.

The latest Android wearable from LG has a very classy look — something aptly highlighted in the latest promo video. Running on Android Wear operation system fromGoogle, it has 1.3″ plastic touchscreen, changeable leather strap (22mm band) and a heart rate monitor. It is a very elegant watch that would add style and high-tech flair to everyday lives of wearers.

The Urbane comes with a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor coupled with 4GB eMMC built-in storage and 512MB of RAM. It is water and dust resistant and boasts of a display of 320×320 pixels along with a pixel density of 245ppi.

Available in gold and silver colours, it is labelled by LG as a “perfect fashion accessory” and a “luxury timepiece”. Industry experts are assuming it to be dearer than its precursor GWR that carried a price tag of Rs. 18,475 ($299) last year.

Recently, LG has followed the pre-launch of Urbane model with another very upbeat, high-end model dubbed Urbane LTE. Using this watch, one can make mobile payments(Near Field Communication technology-based) in addition to LTE phone calls, multi-party voice chats and foreign speech translation. Interestingly this product runs noton Android Wear but on LG’s own proprietary platform.

According to Juno Cho, the CEO of LG, “LG Watch Urbane is an important part of our strategy to develop wearable devices that are worn and viewed as everyday accessories, not electronic gadgets.”

A study by Allied Market Research estimates the size of smartwatch market by 2020 to grow up to a whopping $32.9 billion at an annual growth rate of 67.6 percent. This is one of the key reasons why many companies are preparing for a fierce battle in this segment and upping investments in the category of wearables.

The swanky Urbane watch apparently sports a look quite similar to the Apple’s forthcoming smartwatch. Though slated for a formal release next month at the MobileWorld Congress, Barcelona, the pre-launch of both these watches seem to be more aimed at giving competition to Apple’s widely anticipated wearable device. Rapidly extendingits product line in wearables for a better market consolidation is what’s fuelling LG’s watch strategy more than anything else. Clearly the early release of Urbane and its innovative LTE version would seriously capture the fantasy of users, eagerly awaiting upcoming launch of Apple and other smart watches in April.

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