LG smartwatch that makes its own calls launches in South Korea for $589

The LG Watch Urbane LTE packs its own universal SIM card, so it doesn't have to be paired with a smartphone. But you can't get it outside South Korea -- at least not yet.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

The LG Watch Urbane LTE can also send and accept text messages and make mobile payments -- all on its own. LG

LG has put a price tag on its new smartwatch that doesn't need a smartphone to phone home.

The LG Watch Urbane LTE launches in South Korea on Friday at a price of 650,000 won ($589). It can make and receive phone calls, send and accept text messages, make push-to-talk calls with other phones over the same network and make mobile payments via near-field communication -- all on its own.

The new watch is packed with its own universal SIM card. As a result, phone calls run over a 4G LTE network.

Smartwatches in general are limited in certain functionality as they require a smartphone for specific tasks, such as making and receiving phone calls. Because of that, a smartwatch buyer needs a smartphone to take full advantage of the watch. And both the watch and phone need to be compatible. For example, watches equipped with Android Wear, Google's wearable operating system, can only be paired with supported Android smartphones. So LG's LTE watch is a step toward greater independence.

The LG Watch Urbane LTE can still be linked to a smartphone for certain functions. The phone runs a version of LG's WebOS, which it purchased from Hewlett-Packard in 2013 and is using for smart TVs and now mobile devices. LG's WebOS can work with Android 4.4 or higher.

In terms of specs, the LG Watch Urbane LTE is powered by a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and comes with a 1.3-inch plastic organic LED and a 700mAh battery. LG is also touting the watch's metal body as resistant to corrosion and scratches.

When might this new watch be available in the US and other places outside South Korea? LG said it hasn't yet determined that, according to The Korea Herald, explaining that a global launch would depend on how sales fare in South Korea.

A sister watch called simply the LG Watch Urbane is slated for the US and will be carried by AT&T. But unlike its LTE counterpart, the LG Watch Urbane is a more traditional smartwatch that still needs a smartphone to make and receive phone calls.

LG did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.