LG unveils first 4G Android Wear smartwatch and dual-screen smartphone

Korean consumer electronics giant LG has launched a couple of new smart devices that promise something different.

The LG Watch Urbane 2nd edition is, as you would expect, the successor to the first LG Watch Urbane, which was unveiled in the build up to MWC earlier this year. The most significant change is the move to Google’s Android Wear platform, away from the proprietary LG one running the original, allowing LG to claim the first Android Wear cellular smartwatch.

The 480×480, 348ppi screen resolution is also being claimed as the highest among current smartwatches and the round face makes it a less jarring transition from a traditional watch than, say, the square Apple Watch. LG will launch it first in Korea and the US but has yet to offer dates or prices.

“The wearable sector continues to evolve and we’re playing an active role in that by bringing to market various devices that appeal to various consumers,” said Juno Cho, president and CEO of LGE mobile. “At LG, we don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all wearable device. This second edition of our Watch Urbane aims to be a must-have smart device for active individuals who want to stay connected to the world, whether they’re at work, at home or on the tennis court.”

The Urbane 2nd edition reveal was positioned as a “sneak peek” at an event staged primarily to launch the V10 smartphone. The big novelty with the V10 is the presence of a ‘secondary’ screen above the main 5.7-inch one.

There’s no obvious dividing line between the two, but the point of the second one seems to be to be ‘always on’ for things like alerts, information feeds and the usual stuff like battery life, connectivity, etc. It essentially seems to be an enhanced version of the notification bar that all smartphones currently have. Other than that dual 5MP front-facing cameras promise those 80 degree selfies we’ve all been waiting for, and there is Manual Video Mode, which allows setting tweaks while recording.

“The LG V10 was designed from the ground up primarily as a multimedia smartphone for the sharing ecosystem,” said Cho. “We heard from many customers that until the G4, they weren’t comfortable going on vacation or outings without a separate camera. With the V10, we hope to do for video what the G4 did for photographs.”

The jury is still out on connected smartwatches. On one hand smartwatches that need to be tethered to smartphones for connectivity can seem like mere, dumb notification tools, underserving of their premium price tag. On the other hand, even with a connected watch, are you going to leave your phone at home and talk into your watch like something out of Star Trek? It will probably take price parity for connected smartwatches to become the default.



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