LG’s smartwatch works with all Android phones

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LG’s smartwatch works with all Android phones

LG Electronics said yesterday that it will release its first Android smartwatch, the LG G Watch, in the second quarter as global competition in the lucrative wearable device market continues to heat up.

On Tuesday, Google made public its Android Wearable project, while Samsung Electronics unveiled its own software development kit for its smartwatch, the Samsung Gear 2.

“With the LG G Watch, LG is continuing the milestones we’ve set in wearables following in the footsteps of the world’s first 3G Touch Watch Phone in 2009 and the Prada Link in 2008,” said Park Jong-seok, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company.

Prada Link, a smartwatch synced to the Prada phone in 2008, was the first smartwatch introduced in Korea. It preceded Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, which was released last September.

But LG did not build on its innovation until it came back with the LifeBand Touch, a fitness tracker unveiled at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.

“We’re confident that a well-designed device has the potential to take the smart wearable market by storm,” Park said.

The LG G Watch is among a host of wearable products running Android Wear, an operating system designed for wearable devices.

Motorola Mobility said it’s developing the Moto 360 watch to use Android Wear. Watchmaker Fossil Group is also a partner.

The detailed specs of the smartwatch were not disclosed, but LG said it will let users ask questions by voice and get answers, monitor their health and fitness and connect to TVs and other gadgets. It will “present a low barrier to entry for developers,” the company said in a statement.

The LG G Watch is also compatible with any smartphone running the Android operating system. Samsung Electronics’ smartwatches, including the Samsung Gear 2 unveiled during the Mobile World Congress last month, is compatible only with Samsung phones.

It was LG’s fourth product developed in collaboration with Google following the Nexus 4, Nexus 5 and the LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition.

“The opportunity to work with Google on LG G Watch was the perfect chance for LG to really pull out all the stops in both design and engineering,” Park said.

On Tuesday, Sundar Pichai, a senior vice president at Google, said in a blog post that Google initiated the Android Wearable project with several partners that also included Samsung, HTC, Intel and Qualcomm.

Google, whose Android software dominates the smartphone market, is rolling out new products to bring applications like maps and chat to consumers on the move.

“We’re always seeking new ways for technology to help people live their lives and this is just another step in that journey,” Pichai wrote. “Here’s to getting the most out of the many screens you use every day - whether in your car, in your pocket or, very soon, on your wrist.”

BY MOON GWANG-LIP, BLOOMBERG [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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