Skip to main content

Our first look at LG's new webOS and Android Wear smartwatches

The Watch Urbane and Watch Urbane LTE come out at MWC

Share this story

LG has kicked off Mobile World Congress this Sunday morning in Barcelona by showing off its two Watch Urbane smartwatches for the first time. The pair were announced in the lead-up to MWC, but this has been our first opportunity to see them in person and get some lingering questions answered.

The regular Watch Urbane puts a premium spin on Android Wear, but the Watch Urbane LTE is a different proposition altogether — it's the world's first smartwatch with LTE connectivity, and last week we thought it might be the first webOS smartwatch too. How are they both looking?

By far the more interesting of the pair is the Watch Urbane LTE. Despite what LG representatives told us last week, this is a watch running software based on webOS, with the same circular interface that Audi displayed at CES earlier in the year year. Unlike with its smart TV software, however, LG isn't playing up the webOS connection, instead simply stating that the device runs on the company's own proprietary wearable platform. And really, that's probably for the best — no-one's going to mistake this for a Palm Pre.

Developing its own watch OS rather than relying on the somewhat minimalist Android Wear has given LG the flexibility to offer a lot of new features; the company says that while it will continue to focus on Android Wear, it can't satisfy every customer with Google's platform. The watch faces are far more customizable, for example, letting you choose the background, watch hands, and minute marks.


But the Watch Urbane LTE's main feature by far is its cellular connectivity, which lets you answer calls, check emails, or hold walkie-talkie-style conversations with multiple people anywhere without having a smartphone connected. There are other features for hiking, cycling, playing golf, and working out, with the various sensors helping to track your performance. There's a built-in voice translator app, too, and NFC connectivity lets you use the watch for mobile payments.

Make no mistake — this watch is a gadget. The Watch Urbane LTE's metal body is pretty bulky, and I wasn't too fond of the built-in rubber band. The three-button interface, meanwhile, isn't all that intuitive at first. But I got used to the software soon enough, and in terms of sheer stuff you can do with it, the Watch Urbane LTE is one of the most powerful wearable devices yet. I wouldn't wear one myself, but I have no doubt it'll appeal to some.

Because of the Watch Urbane LTE's extra connectivity, it has its own phone number, and will require a second data plan. The LTE watch is so far only confirmed for South Korea, where it will launch within a couple of months for an undisclosed price.


There's a non-LTE version of the Watch Urbane, too, but it's a vastly different product. It runs Android Wear, making it functionally more or less identical to other watches that use Google's OS. The focus on this one is "luxury," with LG hoping to offer a new experience through materials and design.

Like LG's previous Android Wear smartwatch, the G Watch R, the Watch Urbane has a circular OLED display, but the bezel has been slimmed down considerably, and it isn't marked at five-minute intervals, unlike the LTE watch. The silver- or gold-finished body is stainless steel without a screw in sight, and the strap is made from stitched leather. The craftsmanship is not, of course, on par with a luxury watch, but if you're of the school of thought that believes smartwatches should emulate traditional timepieces, you'll probably find this to be one of the more attractive Android Wear devices so far.

The Watch Urbane will be making it to the US and Europe by the end of April. AT&T is the first carrier to confirm it will offer the Watch Urbane. Pricing information isn't yet available.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 16 minutes ago The tablet didn’t call that play by itself

Emma Roth16 minutes ago
There’s a surprise in the sky tonight.

Jupiter will be about 367 million miles away from Earth this evening. While that may seem like a long way, it’s the closest it’s been to our home planet since 1963.

During this time, Jupiter will be visible to the naked eye (but binoculars can help). You can check where and when you can get a glimpse of the gas giant from this website.

Emma RothTwo hours ago
Missing classic Mario?

One fan, who goes by the name Metroid Mike 64 on Twitter, just built a full-on 2D Mario game inside Super Mario Maker 2 complete with 40 levels and eight worlds.

Looking at the gameplay shared on Twitter is enough to make me want to break out my SNES, or at least buy Super Mario Maker 2 so I can play this epic retro revamp.

Asian America learns how to hit back

The desperate, confused, righteous campaign to stop Asian hate

Esther Wang12:00 PM UTC
External Link
Russell BrandomTwo hours ago
The US might still force TikTok into a data security deal with Oracle.

The New York Times says the White House is still working on TikTok’s Trump-era data security deal, which has been in a weird limbo for nearly two years now. The terms are basically the same: Oracle plays babysitter but the app doesn’t get banned. Maybe it will happen now, though?

Richard LawlerTwo hours ago
Don’t miss this dive into Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion Pinocchio flick.

Andrew Webster and Charles Pulliam-Moore covered Netflix’s Tudum reveals (yes, it’s going to keep using that brand name) over the weekend as the streamer showed off things that haven’t been canceled yet.

Beyond The Way of the Househusband season two news and timing information about two The Witcher projects, you should make time for this incredible behind-the-scenes video showing the process of making Pinocchio.

External Link
Emma Roth4:13 PM UTC
Netflix’s gaming bet gets even bigger.

Even though fewer than one percent of Netflix subscribers have tried its mobile games, Netflix just opened up another studio in Finland after acquiring the Helsinki-based Next Games earlier this year.

The former vice president of Zynga Games, Marko Lastikka, will serve as the studio director. His track record includes working on SimCity BuildIt for EA and FarmVille 3.

External Link
Andrew J. Hawkins3:37 PM UTC
Vietnam’s EV aspirant is giving big Potemkin village vibes

Idle equipment, absent workers, deserted villages, an empty swimming pool. VinFast is Vietnam’s answer to Tesla, with the goal of making 1 million EVs in the next 5-6 years to sell to customers US, Canada and Europe. With these lofty goals, the company invited a bunch of social media influencers, as well as some auto journalists, on a “a four-day, multicity extravaganza” that seemed more weird than convincing, according to Bloomberg.

James Vincent3:17 PM UTC
Today, 39 years ago, the world didn’t end.

And it’s thanks to one man: Stanislav Petrov, a USSR military officer who, on September 26th, 1983, took the decision not to launch a retaliatory nuclear attack against the US. Petrov correctly guessed that satellite readings showing inbound nukes were faulty, and so likely saved the world from nuclear war. As journalist Tom Chivers put it on Twitter, “Happy Stanislav Petrov Day to those who celebrate!” Read more about Petrov’s life here.

Soviet Colonel who prevented 1983 nuclear response
Photo by Scott Peterson/Getty Images
The Verge
James Vincent3:03 PM UTC
Deepfakes were made for Disney.

You might have seen the news this weekend that the voice of James Earl Jones is being cloned using AI so his performance as Darth Vader in Star Wars can live on forever.

Reading the story, it struck me how perfect deepfakes are for Disney — a company that profits from original characters, fans' nostalgia, and an uncanny ability to twist copyright law to its liking. And now, with deepfakes, Disney’s most iconic performances will live on forever, ensuring the magic never dies.

External Link
Elizabeth Lopatto2:41 PM UTC
Hurricane Fiona ratcheted up tensions about crypto bros in Puerto Rico.

“An official emergency has been declared, which means in the tax program, your physical presence time is suspended,” a crypto investor posted on TikTok. “So I am headed out of the island.” Perhaps predictably, locals are furious.

The Verge
Richard Lawler2:09 PM UTC
Teen hacking suspect linked to GTA 6 leak and Uber security breach charged in London.

City of London police tweeted Saturday that the teenager arrested on suspicion of hacking has been charged with “two counts of breach of bail conditions and two counts of computer misuse.”

They haven’t confirmed any connection with the GTA 6 leak or Uber hack, but the details line up with those incidents, as well as a suspect arrested this spring for the Lapsus$ breaches.

The Verge
Richard Lawler1:00 PM UTC
Green light.

Good morning to everyone, except for the intern or whoever prevented us from seeing how Microsoft’s Surface held up to yet another violent NFL incident.

Today’s big event is the crash of a NASA spaceship this evening — on purpose. Mary Beth Griggs can explain.

David Pierce12:54 PM UTC
Thousands and thousands of reasons people love Android.

“Android fans, what are the primary reasons why you will never ever switch to an iPhone?” That question led to almost 30,000 comments so far, and was for a while the most popular thing on Reddit. It’s a totally fascinating peek into the platform wars, and I’ve spent way too much time reading through it. I also laughed hard at “I can turn my text bubbles to any color I like.”