The first Android Wear device that will come out of the box with Google's big new software update is now on sale in the US. Google began selling the LG Urbane on its online store today for $349. The watch comes in either a silver or a gold, and Google says new orders will leave its warehouse by Friday, May 8th.
The LG Urbane's main appeal is that it looks more like a regular "luxury" watch than many other smartwatches. Instead of plastic, it's made of stainless steel with a leather band, and is one of only a few to sport a round screen. Several other watches with that same idea are in the pipeline, but LG's basically the first out the gate here and following on the heels of the Moto 360.
The first Android Wear device with Google's big new features
This is the first Android Wear device that will come with Google's new software update. That software enables Wi-FI on some devices (so you can use a number of features without your phone in Bluetooth range), gesture-based navigation, drawable emoji, and a new low-power mode that keeps your app on-screen while dimming the display. Google's promised the update to other Android Wear devices, but has not said when exactly that's happening, or which models will get the new Wi-Fi mode flipped on.
The US launch comes a little later than its South Korean counterpart. LG began selling the watch there last month, and offers an LTE-enabled version for about $608, though it's running completely different software and designed to exist without being tethered to your smartphone all the time. By comparison, this version requires an Android phone for setup and daily use.
Google may not be the only US seller for long. What appeared to be leaked promotional materials for the Urbane being sold through Verizon cropped up late last week, suggesting the device would go on sale through the carrier tomorrow for $349.99.