Barcelona: LG Electronics said that smartwatch category is still shaping up and nobody knows for sure which way the wearables market will go.
“We just got into it last year into the wearable business. Even we are not sure which direction it will go but we will introduce new products because one thing we know is that the wearable can also be an accessory to fashion rather than a computing device,” said Ken Hong, Director of global communications at LG Electronics.
The Korean company launched two new models — LG Watch Urbane and Urbane LTE — at Barcelona.
The fourth-generation smartwatches run on LG’s Wearable Platform operating system developed specifically for the company’s proprietary wearable products.
The Urbane LTE is also the world’s first smartwatch to offer LTE and NFC capabilities. This unique device can make calls or send and receive data without connecting to a smartphone. And the Urbane LTE can function as a walkie-talkie with its push-to-talk (PPT) feature to connect to multiple parties simultaneously. It has a 1.3-inch Plastic-OLED display with 1GB RAM and 4GB internal storage capacity.
A built-in heart-rate monitor and advanced motion sensors tracking fitness goals and it also includes specialised features for golfers, cyclists and hikers.
Hong said that the LTE watch is available with AT&T in the US and Korean markets. The SIM is inbuilt into the watch and it has to be sold through a telecom operator.
Regarding apps, he said that LG is developing its own apps and “we don’t expect the smartwatches to be for a mass market.”
“We are not competing with Android Wear but supplementing it. Android Wear currently does not support LTE capability so we developed our own platform. It works only with Android phones,” he said.
According to research firm Statista, the wearable device market will grow from $5.16 billion to $12.6 billion by 2018. Wearable technology in the future is expected to include products such as Google Glass and the iWatch as well as other medical technology.
With NFC technology, Hong said that wearers will have a virtual wallet on their wrist at all times. Users can make payments for meals, movie tickets and even transit fares faster and easier with their Urbane LTE without ever taking out their wallets.