We already knew smartwatches running Google’s Android Wear operating system would be able to support cellular service, because LG announced in September that its LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE would be able to work on 3G and 4G networks.

But now Google’s making it official: the latest update to Android Wear brings support for mobile network data.

Not surprisingly, LG’s new watch is the first to support the feature. It’s already available from AT&T and it’s coming to Verizon this week.

lg watch urbane 2nd generation lte

So how does the cellular service work? When your Android Wear device can’t find a WiFi or Bluetooth connection it will automatically switch to cell service. That way you can leave your phone at home and continue to use your internet-connected watch on the go.

If your phone and watch are both connected to the same cellular network you’ll also be able to receive and send text messages on the go, perform Google searches, and use third-party apps.

Google says you’ll also be able to answer phone calls or make new calls from your wrist. You can do that by pairing a Bluetooth headset with your watch, but we’re also starting see Android Wear devices with speakers, so maybe one day you’ll be able to leave your phone and headset at home.

The LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, by the way, is more than just a watch with an LTE connection and a needlessly long name. It also has a circular 1.38 inch 480 x 480 pixel plastic OLED display, a heart rate monitor, 768MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, a 570 mAh battery, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor.

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4 replies on “Android Wear gets cellular support, starting with LG’s new smartwatch”

  1. I wonder how rapidly device obsolescence is going to occur in
    this space. It looks like every time a major new feature is
    introduced, people will have to junk their old device that doesn’t
    have or can’t be updated to incorporate the new feature. At
    somepoint, the innovation is going to plateau, and people will
    be able to keep their existing device longer, but when will that
    point occur?

    For example, the new LG watch, in addition to LTE, has 768 MB
    of RAM, previous models had 512 MB. higher resolution screen
    (480 x 480, vs 320 x 320), a bigger battery (570 mAh vs 410-420
    mAh). The next iteration is likely to bring more storage (the LTE
    model has the same 4 GB as earlier models), a speaker, likely
    even bigger battery (you can never have too much juice). Maybe
    a future model will even come unlocked for GSM and take nano
    SIM cards or even SIMless.

  2. The paradigm still seems to be that the watch connects to the phone for most functions. It’s just a matter of what type of network it can use to do that.

    What I want is for the Android Wear device to be a primary device which interacts with my Google services directly. Interaction with a phone/tablet is preferable for setup, etc.. where the better I/O is helpful. But then I want to be able to use the watch without the phone or tablet even being powered on.
    Is there currently any capability in that regard?

    1. Urm… Why? Just curious because I find having my phone as a fallback is a good thing. If I need to send a reply that is longer than 10 words or so I’ll use my phone to type, so being able to use my watch alone would be great but I’d need to use my phone every few hours. A watch feels more natural as a secondary device in my opinion.

      1. Because I really don’t use a phone. Though I might try a watch as getting notifications and some light communication might be handy. But having it tied to another mobile device puts a wrench in it for me.
        The tablet in the house is shared so I really can’t dedicate it for being available to partner the watch. The second tablet I accidentally dropped and smashed a few months ago.
        I found I didn’t really need/use a smart phone enough to justify the monthly cost. I’m mostly our old-school desktop guy.
        I’d like Google to abstract everything back to a conceptual web account as much as possible anyway. I don’t want to have relationships established with this or that device so much as be able to use any device to reach and interact with my established relationship with Google services.

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