LG Drops its Latest Smartwatch Due to Hardware Flaw

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2015-11-20 Print this article Print
LG, LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, smartwatches, wearables, hardware flaw, Apple Watch

Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT, said LG made the decision that "fixing it would apparently be more costly than shelving and/or killing the product."

Such a move is a rare occurrence in IT, he said, "and typically happens when a company determines that a new product simply doesn't have a future in the marketplace. A good example of this is Microsoft's Kin phone, which the company withdrew after just 16 days."

Also perhaps playing a part in the cancellation of the smartwatch is that "tepid sales of [the] Apple Watch suggest that other wearables could face even more trouble," said King. "It's also fair to say that LG has suffered a significant setback here that could flow over to other Android-based smartwatches"

Rob Enderle, principal of Enderle Group, told eWEEK that the move came after LG realized it had discovered "a serious problem that required a redesign" at a time when the smartwatch market is stalled. "This class of product is cycling very quickly at the moment and not selling well. Thus it was better from their perspective to just write it off rather than to try to fix it and bring it back out. If they continue the line, the fix will be in the next version."  

At the same time, though, quick product cancellations like this are pretty rare, said Enderle. "The problem has to be major and the risk that the fixed product wouldn't sell [must have been] high. This is also done if there is a safety concern for instance if the product burned the user. This line has a lot of functionality in a very small form factor."

Avi Greengart, an analyst with Current Analysis, was philosophical about LG's cancellation. "Product development can be messy," he said. "There are always chances that something will go wrong, and products get delayed, canceled, or recalled."

Other companies have also experienced such fates in recent months, he wrote. "This is obviously bad for LG, but LG is not alone—just in the last few months, Sony cancelled a phone it had announced for Verizon, and HTC cancelled (or delayed) fitness bands that it had announced."

Greengart said that LG's move to drop the watch cannot be seen as an indicator of "broader inferences about the state of [the] smartwatch market from a single product problem, at least not without more details as to what the issue really is."



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