Google is finally getting around to adding LTE connectivity to Android Wear, allowing equipped wearables to connect to the Internet, place calls, send and receive texts and more without having to be in close proximity to a smartphone.
Up to this point, Android Wear smartwatches have had to use a companion smartphone connected via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi as a middleman to the outside world. Devices like the Samsung Gear S already offer 3G cellular connectivity but do so running Tizen.
The first Android Wear smartwatch with onboard LTE is the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE. The Snapdragon 400-powered wearable packs a circular 1.38-inch P-OLED display (480 x 480 resolution, 348 PPI), 768MB of RAM and 4GB of local eMMC storage. The watch is IP67 certified against dust and liquid and is brought to life by a “long-lasting” 570mAh battery.
Although the wearable can technically connect to a cellular network without your phone nearby, it can’t do so entirely on its own as both the watch and your phone must be connected to a cellular network simultaneously. It doesn’t have to be the same tower or anything; the point is, you can’t buy the watch and expect to use it as a phone without linking it to a phone. While not mentioned specifically, it likely relies on AT&T NumberSync and Verizon Messages to make the magic happen. The requirement isn't really a big deal as virtually anyone interested in buying a smartwatch already has a smartphone but it’s certainly worth clarifying.
The LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE is available online from AT&T and Verizon with pricing starting at $199.99 (from AT&T with a two-year service agreement).