LG unveils upscale all-metal Watch Urbane

South Korean electronics major LG has tried to go one up on the upcoming Apple Watch by taking the wraps off its own high-end, all-metal smart watch weeks before Apple is said to launch its own wearable.

LG said this morning that it will showcase the LG Watch Urbane during the upcoming Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2015 in Barcelona.

“The LG Watch Urbane follows closely in the footsteps of the LG Watch R, the first smartwatch with a full circular Plastic OLED (P-OLED) display, which LG launched in October 2014,” the company said.

The Urbane keeps the 1.3-inch, circular P-OLED face of the G Watch R, but it will be among the first all-metal smart watches to hit the shelves. The Pebble Steel is largely seen as the first available all-metal smart watch, with a Gorilla Glass.

The latest LG device, as expected, runs Android Wear and is powered by a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chip. Notwithstanding Apple’s forthcoming wearable, LG’s G Watch and Watch R are perhaps among the best available in the market right now, with many an expert dismissing Samsung’s Galaxy Gear as a failure.

LG, on the other hand, has decided to go all-metal upscale with its new offering, pegging it as “more formal with a thinner profile making it perfect for either men or women”. It says the Watch R was designed with the active user in mind while insisting that the Urbane resembles “a luxury timepiece”.

“The LG Watch Urbane’s classic design and smart features make it the perfect smartwatch to complement our G Watch and G Watch R, which were designed as more casual and active devices,” said Juno Cho, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company, in a statement.

“LG Watch Urbane is an important part of our strategy to develop wearable devices that are worn and viewed as everyday accessories, not electronic gadgets,” he added.

Apple unveiled its smart watch last year along with the bigger-screened iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and recently announced that the Cupertino-based tech firm is on track to start shipping its highly anticipated  Apple Watch by April this year.

Read: Apple Watch wearable devices to begin shipping in April

Wearable technology is largely seen as the next big thing to go mass market, with research firm Canalys reporting recently that 4.6 million “smart wearable band” shipments took place in 2014, with the Moto 360 leading the pack, followed by Pebble’s offerings.

Even as the entry of Apple Watch this year is set to do to the wearables market what the iPhone did to smartphones, rivals are already upping the ante in anticipation and putting their best wrist forward.

LG’s new offering, for one, ups the tech quotient alright but what it really goes after is design improvement. The Urbane features a narrower bezel than its predecessor, giving it sleeker lines and, as per the company, has all of the hallmarks of a fine watch, making it the perfect fashion accessory.

It boasts of a stainless steel body, in silver or gold finish, complemented by a stitched natural leather strap for a more classic look. The strap can be replaced with any 22mm wide band to suit the occasion or the wearer’s mood, says LG.

The touch-based user interface makes the Urbane compatible with smartphones running Android 4.3 and above.

Like the G Watch R, LG’s latest Android Wear device includes a photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor that can measure a wearer’s heart rate and average pulse during exercise. Always-On ambient mode shows the time on the display at all times in dimmed mode, saving battery life.

LG hasn’t revealed the pricing of the new device yet, saying it’ll be announced in local markets at the time of availability.

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