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LG's Watch Urbane first to support LTE

LG announces new features to its smart watch to compete with the upcoming release of the Apple Watch.

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Screenshot from promotional trailer for LG's Watch Urbane.

LG

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With the Apple Watch due to arrive in April, smartwatch makers are trying to find ways to differentiate their wares. LG's doing this with its Urbane Watch LTE, announced today (Feb. 26), that will run a whole new operating system and support LTE.

According to LG, the Watch Urbane LTE will be the first smartwatch to support LTE. With that capability, wearers will be able to make calls and send and receive messages as they would on their smartphones. 

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The Watch Urbane will also pack NFC to support mobile payments. Details on how this will work and what merchants will support this functionality are not yet clear, but LG says that the watch will be smart enough to remind you of an upcoming event you've paid for. For example, if you've paid for movie tickets with the Watch Urbane LTE, you'll get a reminder of the show a few hours in advance based on your payment information.

The device will also run something called the "LG Wearable Platform," a new operating system that the company developed for its proprietary wearable products. LG's other smartwatches, the G Watch and G Watch R, run Google's Android Wear. The company has reportedly been working on a separable wearable running webOS -- the platform it uses for smart TVs -- but nothing has been confirmed.

The Watch Urbane LTE will feature a 1.3-inch Plastic-OLED 320 x 320 touch display and pack what LG says is the category's largest battery (700 mAh). The device will also sport a heart rate monitor on its underside, and is rated IP67 dust- and water- proof. This means it can be submerged in a meter of water for up to 30 minutes.

You'll also have a wide variety of customization options with the Watch Urbane LTE, both in terms of physical straps and bands to the design of the watch face.

LG first unveiled the high-end, all-metal Urbane timepiece earlier this month, promising to deliver a more premium smartwatch. The Watch Urbane LTE appears to be a new version of the first Urbane -- it's not immediately clear if LG will continue to market both the regular and LTE versions.

The Korean electronics giant isn't the only company to take on Apple with a new OS. Industry pioneer Pebble recently announced a new Pebble Time watch, featuring a color ePaper display and new operating system.

The Watch Urbane is supposed to be unveiled at Mobile World Congress on March 2nd, and we'll be covering the event live.