The smartwatch battle is on with several PC, mobile and watch Companies spruiking new models at this year’s World Mobile Congress in Barcelona.
The first model that we got a look at was the all new LG Urbane watch.
LG has already launched two smartwatches in Australia and this model will their third in less than a year, as vendors frantically develop new capabilities.
One battle that is emerging is around operating systems, Samsung is spruiking their Tizen while LG is pushing Android Wear though there is speculation that they could move to WebOS in the future.
There is also talk that a Firefox OS for smartwatches is under development.
Apple is the 100 kilo gorilla in this market with their new smartwatch set to be launched in April, their range of smartwatches is set to be a big driver for the category claim Accenture analysts at MWC.
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While Apple has developed their own iOS devices, Nike is set to use the Apple OS to expand their Fuel band offering.
The new LG Urbane is a big step up from both prior LG smartwatch models it is a lot cleaner and devoid of the plastic rubber look of past models.
Owners will be able to change the straps to whatever fashion strap you want from the LG collection.
The metal is shiny so it looks more like a real non tech watch, the metal also delivers a premium effect that was missing from prior models. It’s also lighter than current models.
A single button on the side is similar to the one on most Android phones (functioning as a power button as well as a method of manually dimming the screen) and is nice and easy to hit without having to fumble about too much.
The display is a 320 x 320 pixel P-OLED 1.3-inch screen sits on top of a Snapdragon 400 chipset, clocked at 1.2GHz and 1 GB of RAM.
There’s 4GB of on-board storage and users can install a limited range of content directly onto the device.
Missing is GPS tracking LG claims this sucks battery juice battery life, LG executives at WMC said that owners you will get around 30 hours of use out of this watch between charges.
A heart rate monitor on the back, combines with the barometer and accelerometer .
Under the bonnet is Android Wear 2.0 which is an okay OS, however it is not brilliant or even innovative.
The swipes are responsive and the palm-cover method of dimming the screen exists
The basic model runs Google’s Android Wear, making it reliant on a smartphone.
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But the thicker premium edition features a 4G chip, allowing it to make calls and send texts as a standalone device, and is powered by a new operating system called LG Wearable Platform.
Until now, the smartwatch sector has found it easier to generate headlines than sales. But many analysts believe 2015 is the year that demand will inflate, thanks in part to the imminent launch of the Apple Watch, which will be supported by a large marketing campaign.
Unlike Apple’s version, LG has made its models circular and deliberately designed them so they could pass as a standard timepiece at first glance.
At this stage I am struggling to recommend any watches as they are costly and the technology or OS platforms are far from mature however the LG urbane is a massive improvement and way more fashionable than current models.