LG cancels release of new Android Wear Smartwatch

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LG was one of the first companies to fully embrace Google’s Android Wear smartwatch platform with the original G Watch, and it has since released more watches than any other OEM. Its latest attempt is the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE. This device was notable for several reasons, but now it has a less positive distinction — it’s been cancelled indefinitely after being on sale for less than a week.

Plenty of products end up being scrapped at some point in the development or testing process, and some even die after announcement but prior to release. However, the Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE actually went on sale and was sent out to reviewers. The product was “done,” but LG apparently missed something major enough to warrant pulling the product completely.

LG’s statement on the matter is vague and concise:

“We understand that you are currently reviewing our latest smartwatch; however, late in the quality assurance process for the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, 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 cancel the rollout of the Urbane 2nd Edition LTE due to the complicated nature of the issue. Whether the device will be available in the future will be decided at a later time. For now, our top priority is to ensure that only products that meet our very specific quality standards are available for purchase.”

The nature of the hardware issue isn’t clear, but there’s speculation it has something to do with the LTE radio or antennas. The new Watch Urbane was supposed to be the first Android Wear device to have its own dedicated cellular connection. All others rely on WiFi and Bluetooth to connect to your phone. The round AMOLED screen is also a new component that might be failing in LG’s testing. It’s larger and higher resolution than the previous Urbane. The internals are otherwise very similar to the last Watch Urbane, which worked just fine.

This is embarrassing for LG, but Google is also being hung out to dry on this one. The 2nd gen Watch Urbane was an important device in the Android Wear ecosystem. It was going to be the launch device for Android 6.0 Marshmallow on a watch (Android Wear OS 1.4). None of the other Android smartwatches have the Marshmallow update yet, and Google has talked about the Urbane in a number of blog posts and videos. The built-in speaker and previously mentioned LTE connectivity were also enabled by the updated software.

The Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE went on sale at AT&T stores at the end of last week, but it doesn’t appear any online retailers shipped orders prior to the cancellation. The Google Store briefly had a listing for the new Urbane, but it was never made available for sale. While LG says future availability will be decided at a “later time,” it seems unlikely this device will ever be released. For all intents and purposes, it’s cancelled. Anyone who bought the device will be able to get a full refund, unless you want to hold onto it as a collector’s item. Hopefully it won’t explode on your wrist.

Credit: Extreme Tech