LG’s New Smartwatch Will Support LTE But Won’t Run Android Wear

LG is developing its own software for smartwatches after the company announced that one version of its upcoming LG Watch Urbane will run its own “proprietary” platform.

The Korean company revealed details of its ‘premium’ smartwatch earlier this month. Initially, it was notable for being LG’s first all-metal timepiece, but that’s eclipsed by the fact that there will be an LTE version that runs the ‘LG Wearable Platform’. (The non-Android Wear model will pair up with smartphones running Android 4.4 or newer, and — interestingly — LG told The Verge that its new platform is not based on WebOS.)

LG’s decision to go beyond the Google platform appears to have been made to differentiate its smartwatch from the existing competition. The company boasts that the LG Watch Urbane LTE will be the first smartwatch to support 4G cellular connections — the aim is to be more than just a companion/notification device. That’s a description that, to this point, applies to almost all smartwatches on the market.

With LTE cellular access, the watch will function just like a phone. Beyond making and receiving calls and sending text messages, LG said the device will be able to send walkie-talkie-style short voice messages.

There is also support for NFC which will allow watch owners to use payment services directly from their wrist. Apple reportedly struggled to add censors to its watch in a reliable and consistent fashion, but LG said it will include a heart rate monitor and motion sensors on the Watch Urbane LTE, while there will be “specialized features for golfers, cyclists and hikers.”

We were already quite intrigued by the Watch Urbane based on its aesthetics alone, so when you throw in LTE and a new operating system, then it becomes a product to watch, alongside the upcoming Apple Watch and Pebble’s new Time smartwatch.

LG will reveal the smartwatch in full detail at Mobile World Congress next week. TechCrunch will be at the event in Barcelona, Spain, so stayed tuned for more soon.