Last week we brought you news that the first Android Wear smartwatch with access to cellular data — read: doesn’t need to be paired with a smartphone — was on its way to the U.S. market, but now we are dialing down that enthusiasm after the device was pulled due to apparent issues.
The watch in question is the LG Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, which went on sale in the U.S. via AT&T last week and was due to come to Verizon on November 20. It’s all change, however, after LG yanked it from stores due to “a hardware issue which affects the day-to-day functionality of the device,” according to a 9to5Google report.
The company did contact media reviewing the watch — including Android Police — with a note which, among other things, noted that “whether the device will be available in the future will be decided at a later time.”
Update: In a statement provided to TechCrunch — included at the bottom of this post — LG explained that the issue is related to “a new advanced component” that the company was using in a wearable for the first time.
For now, neither the carriers nor LG have given a new date when the watch will go back on sale. In fact, AT&T is already offering refunds to customers while Verizon will reportedly not ship the watch to those who have made pre-orders. That doesn’t look too good.
This is a major setback for both LG and Google, the latter having recently added cellular LTE data access to its Android Wear operating system. That means that future smartwatches will be able to take advantage of the feature — which, on paper, means you can leave your phone at home if you head out for a run or errands — but this episode isn’t exactly the ringing endorsement that both companies will have hoped for from the get-go.
LG has another smartwatch that can run LTE, but it — the first generation Watch Urbane — uses the company’s own platform, not Android Wear. With this second edition of the Urbane, LG returned to the Android fold, but it remains to be seen what its next smartwatch move will be given the headache it is facing right now.
Here’s LG statement in full:
Late in the quality assurance process for the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition, our engineers were made aware of a hardware issue which affects the day-to-day functionality of the device. After further investigation, the decision was made to discontinue the rollout of the Urbane 2nd Edition due to the complicated nature of the issue. Customers who have purchased an LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition will receive a full refund with our apologies for the inconvenience caused.
The hardware issue was related to a new advanced component that we had incorporated in the device that had never been used in an LG wearable device before. During aggressive testing over thousands of hours under severe conditions, it was revealed that this component failed to meet LG’s quality standards and could potentially impact our image quality over the life of the device. We would like to make very clear that the issue in question has no bearing whatsoever on the safety of the device or the wearer. It is, simply, an issue that might affect the user experience of the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition over the long term.