LG has announced LG Watch Urbane, an all-metal smartwatch with a leather wristband and classic round watch face that's aimed at fashion-conscious luxury goods buyers.
The new smartwatch, which will debut at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, Spain, in early March, includes the same 1.3-inch full circle P-OLED display that appeared on last September's LG G Watch R smartwatch, but it's built into a narrower bezel with sleeker lines, according to the company. The new watch is aimed at wearers who are seeking a more formal device, compared with the LG G Watch R, which is aimed at more active users.
Running on Android Wear, the new smartwatch has a stainless steel body that can be purchased in a polished silver or gold finish, as well as a stitched natural leather strap that can be swapped out for any 22mm watchband, giving users a lot of styling choices. The watch is designed and styled for use by both men and women.
The LG Watch Urbane also has a touch-based user interface that is compatible with smartphones running Android 4.3 and above, as well as a photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor that can measure a wearer's heart rate and average pulse during exercise. Also included is an "Always-On" ambient display mode that shows the time on the display at all times in dimmed mode, conserving battery life.
"The LG Watch Urbane's classic design and smart features make it the perfect smartwatch to complement our G Watch and G Watch R, which were designed as more casual and active devices," Juno Cho, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications, said in a statement. "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."
The LG Watch Urbane includes a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 512MB of LPDDR2 memory, 4GB of eMMC storage and a 410mAh battery. The watch, which also includes a 9-axis gyro/accelerometer/compass sensor and barometer, meets IP67 dust and water resistance standards.
Pricing for the LG Watch Urbane has not yet been announced. The earlier LG G Watch R retails for $299.
The new device will join a growing crowd of luxury-aimed smartwatches in the marketplace. The MB Chronowing smartwatch, which was engineered by Hewlett-Packard and styled by fashion designer Michael Bastian, debuted in November 2014 in two versions—a standard device priced at $349 and a more luxurious, limited-edited version for $649. The MB Chronowing smartwatches bring elegant design, luxury materials and modern electronics to the world of smartwatches.
Last November, Samsung unveiled its curved Gear S smartwatch, while Fitbit unveiled its then-new Surge smartwatch, which was that company's first venture into the dedicated smartwatch marketplace, bringing Fitbit into more direct competition against companies such as Apple, Samsung, Sony and LG.
The wearable device market is expected to top 19 million units this year, and jump to 111.9 million units in 2018, IDC analysts said in April 2014. Canalys analysts in September said the wearable band market will grow 129 percent a year, hitting 43.2 million units in 2015. Of those, 28.2 million will be smartbands, with the other 15 million being basic bands (which, unlike smartbands, cannot run third-party applications), the analysts said.