• $249

LG launches smartwatches

LG Electronics launched the world’s first smartwatches with Google’s latest wearable device operating system (OS) Android Wear 2.0 in the United States, Thursday.

The U.S. debut of the two new smartwatches ― LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style ― comes right after Google unveiled its new smartwatch OS on Wednesday (local time). The Korean electronics maker said it plans to roll out the products in the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, Russia and Canada afterwards. They will be available in the Korean market in March.

“The two new smartwatches are next-generation wearable devices with the Android Wear 2.0,” LG Electronics’ mobile business President Cho Juno said. “They are provided under cooperation between LG Electronics and Google.”

Google’s Android Wear head David Singleton said, “With the Android Wear 2.0, we have concentrated on providing quick and innovative wearable experiences such as more convenient watch faces and text input. We have worked to integrate hardware and software closely for the new smartwatches under cooperation with LG to boost usability of Android Wear OS.”

Android Wear 2.0 allows users to download apps directly through the smartwatch. With the previous version of the smartwatch OS, users had to synchronize the device with smartphones to install an app. Smartwatches with Android Wear 2.0 are also compatible with Apple’s iOS devices such as iPhones, LG Electronics said.

The new smartwatch OS also comes with Google’s artificial intelligence-based voice-recognizing service Google Assistant. Users can run search engines, play music and check weather through verbal orders, the company said. Besides the voice recognition feature, the Android Wear 2.0 system provides a virtual keyboard and handwriting recognition for text input options.

LG Watch Sports has a long-term evolution (LTE) mobile network chipset and thus can be used without a smartphone connection. It also has a rotating side button, which works like a watch stem. This allows users to look for an app and scroll through content without touching the screen, the company said.

The model has a 1.38-inch circular plastic OLED display panel made by LG Display, and Qualcomm’s latest wearable device application processor Snapdragon Wear 2100. It also is waterproof and dustproof and has a heartbeat sensor.
LG Watch Style does not support LTE connections and thus needs to pair with a smartphone. With a 1.2-inch display panel, it is 10.79 millimeters slim.

LG Electronics did not disclose the prices of the new smartwatches. But LG Watch Style has been known to be sold for $249 in the U.S. market, according to industry sources.

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