LG Drops Its Latest Smartwatch Due to Hardware Flaw

The LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE is supposed to be rolling out to customers now but the company has ended its distribution.

LG, LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, smartwatches, wearables, hardware flaw, Apple Watch

A week after LG announced the global distribution of its latest smartwatch—the Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE—the company is dropping the new LTE timepieces due to an undisclosed hardware flaw.

Based on an email the company sent to media members who are reviewing the watches, the problem, which LG has not fully detailed, involves a "hardware issue which affects the day-to-day functionality of the device," according to a Nov. 19 report by AndroidPolice.

"We understand that you are currently reviewing our latest smartwatch; however, late in the quality assurance process for the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, our engineers were made aware of a hardware issue which affects the day-to-day functionality of the device," the email states. "After further investigation, the decision was made to cancel the rollout of the Urbane 2nd Edition LTE due to the complicated nature of the issue."

The action means the future of the watch is now in doubt, the note continues. "Whether the device will be available in the future will be decided at a later time. For now, our top priority is to ensure that only products that meet our very specific quality standards are available for purchase."

It wasn't supposed to be this way for the smartwatch. On Nov. 12, LG issued a press release describing the global rollout of the new Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, starting with the United States and Korea. The wristwatch was to be the first that allows users to make 3G or 4G calls on it without the need for a smartphone, creating an intriguing new segment in the marketplace. The watch was to be compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones.

The LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition was also designed to provide notifications of incoming calls, messages and more right on the watch face. The device features a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and runs on Android Wear. It also features a 1.38-inch, full circle P-OLED display; a 44.5mm diameter; a stainless-steel body; a hypoallergenic TPSiV elastomer band; and a 570mAh battery.

LG's fast move to cancel the watch was seen as a positive move for an apparently troubled product, several IT analysts told eWEEK.

"I've never seen something scratched this close to launch before, but kudos to LG for pulling it once they knew it had problems, rather than taking a chance with customers," Jan Dawson, chief analyst of Jackdaw Research, wrote in a reply to an email inquiry. "It's not clear exactly what the issue was, but it was clearly serious enough that they knew it would detract from what's supposed to be a premium smartwatch experience. The big question is just when—if ever—they will release a second version of this watch. It was supposed to be the first LTE smartwatch running Android Wear, and this may mean we now won't see one for a while."