LG's first standalone smartwatch--and the first watch based on WebOS--is not going to come cheap.
The LG Watch Urbane LTE launched in South Korea today, with price tag of roughly $590, Android Central reports. That's before tacking on a $9 per month wireless plan for voice, text and, data.
The price puts LG's latest smartwatch on par with the mid-range Apple Watch, which starts at $549 for the 38mm model and $599 for the 42mm model. LG is hoping the Watch Urbane will stand out through its built-in SIM card and 4G LTE connection, as the Apple Watch and most other smartwatches require a paired phone to get online. The LG Watch Urbane also boasts a more stylish design than most smartwatches.
Unlike LG's other smartwatches, which run Android Wear, the Watch Urbane LTE uses a custom version of WebOS. This includes some built-in apps for things like email, fitness, and voice commands, and allows for wrist-based payments with NFC.
The details on those NFC payments are still murky, however, and LG hasn't talked about third-party apps. The watch will also require an Android phone for notifications, even though it isn't using Google's software this time around
U.S. launch plans for the Watch Urbane are still unclear. So far, AT&T has only said that it will carry the non-LTE Watch Urbane, which does run Android Wear. Perhaps carriers are getting cold feet after jumping in with Samsung's Gear S.
Why this matters: While most smartwatch makers started with cheap, plastic-clad timepieces, they've quickly followed Apple's lead into luxury land. But with Apple dominating the high-end of the market, it should have an easier time selling expensive smartwatches to its existing clientele. LG may not find it so easy, even with standalone connectivity as a distinguishing feature.