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LG shelves Urbane Second Edition smartwatch due to hardware issue

Company stops sales of timepiece, touted as first Android Wear smartwatch with cellular connectivity for placing and receiving calls even when users' phones weren't at hand.

LG says a hardware issue caused it to stop sales of the Urbane Second Edition smartwatch.

Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

LG has stopped taking orders for its Urbane Second Edition smartwatch a little more than a week after the Android wearable went on sale.

The company canceled the rollout of the device, the first Android Wear smartwatch with 4G LTE connectivity, because of an unspecified hardware issue, LG said Thursday. It couldn't say if sales of the smartwatch might be resurrected at a later date.

"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," the company said in a statement. "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," the statement continued. "For now, our top priority is to ensure that only products that meet our very specific quality standards are available for purchase."

The cancellation comes just days after the Urbane Second Edition was made available by AT&T and Verizon Wireless for preorder on November 11. It wasn't clear what the wireless carriers planned to do; neither immediately responded to requests for comment.

The latest Android Wear smartwatch among many wearables vying for consumers' attention, the Urbane Second Edition was due to be the followup to LG's earlier Urbane model, which debuted in May. The smartwatch resembles a classic timepiece and was to have 480x480-pixel resolution, the highest of any Android Wear watch to date.

A setback for LG, the cancellation is also a setback of sorts for Google. The smartwatch was touted as the first smartwatch on Google's Android Wear software to feature cellular connectivity built in, meaning you could make calls and receive notifications even when your handset wasn't close at hand.

Smartwatches are still limited in that they generally need to be synced to a smartphone to make and receive calls and messages and carry out certain other tasks. That poses a problem if you're out and have left your smartphone at home or somewhere else.

"As long as your watch and phone are connected to a cellular network, you'll be able to use your watch to send and receive messages, track fitness, get answers from Google and run your favorite apps," Google said in a blog post earlier this month. "And yes, you'll even be able to make and take calls right from your watch, for when your hands are full, or your phone is elsewhere."

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the smartwatch's cancellation.

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