A smartwatch has always been an optional accessory for most people. Compared to a phone or tablet, it lacks functionality. The device is just another redundant gadget that you have to worry about keeping charged throughout the day, and busy people aren’t having any of it. In order for smartwatches to cross over from luxury to necessity, they have to be more independent. Seeing the issue as a major roadblock, Google released cellular support for Android Wear. Earlier this year, the company mentioned the update was on the way, and now it’s finally here!
“No more worrying about Bluetooth or Wi-Fi—your watch will automatically switch to a cellular connection when you’re out of range. 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,” said Google in a blog post. “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.”
What can I do with the update?
You can leave your phone at home. Not everything on your daily to-do list requires you to lug around your mini, handheld computer (that’s what smartphones are these days). A quick trip to the grocery store, the post office or restaurant are examples of errands that do not call for major technology support. In addition to making calls and sending messages, you can also use Google Keep to access schedules and agendas, which are all backed up through the cloud. When you’re lost, Google Maps from your wrist will get you out of the unknown and back into civilization. Even those who slave over their inbox can receive emails through their modern timepiece. All of these features are now possible without your phone.
But there’s a catch…
Before you jump on Amazon or Google Play Store and commit to the cheapest smartwatch you can find, there’s something you need to know. It’s only available for the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE. The tech brand did not indicate when or if the feature is coming to other models. The latest device released by the South Korea-based company supports Verizon and AT&T networks, so if you’re on one of those carriers, you’re in luck.
Under the hood, you’ll find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 SoC, 768 MB of RAM and 4 GB of internal storage. That’s more than enough processing power for smooth cellular support. There is also a SIM slot in the back and a large, 570 mAh battery. Connectivity options include NFC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and LTE/4G. “The rich colors and true blacks in combination with the high resolution display actually make this look like it is an actual watch with the display always on,” highlighted Derrick Miyao from AndroidGuys.
AT&T has the watch going for $300, while Verizon is selling it for $500. At that price range, you would have to choose between getting a new phone or a flashy smartwatch. Sign me up for the watch please!