LG forced to cancel the first Android Wear smartwatch with 4G

Posted Nov 20, 2015 by James Walker
LG has announced it has suspended the launch of its upcoming Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE smartwatch due to an unspecified but presumably serious hardware issue. The device would have been the first Android Wear watch to feature LTE mobile data.
The LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE  the first Android Wear device to support LTE
The LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, the first Android Wear device to support LTE
LG notified Android Police that it is "indefinitely" cancelling the smartwatch's launch moments after the news site noticed it is listed on the Google Store but can't yet be purchased. Android Police and other technology news outlets already have Watch Urbane 2 LTEs in for review and it's now unclear whether these reports will ever be published.
The smartwatch has apparently been hit by a hardware issue which "affects the day-to-day functionality of the device." LG's engineers only became aware of the fault late in the quality assurance process, after the watch had already been shown off and sent to reviewers. The company has now made the decision to cancel the launch, citing the "complicated nature" of the issue as the cause.
Last week, Google took the wraps off an update to Android Wear that adds support for LTE mobile data radios for the first time. The Watch Urbane 2 was highlighted in its blog post as the first device to be capable of using this functionality. LG says it will now decide at a later time whether it will put the Watch Urbane 2 LTE on sale in the future. It told Android Police: "For now, our top priority is to ensure that only products that meet our very specific quality standards are available for purchase."
The company falls short of specifying what issue was found in the smartwatch's hardware but the cancellation of a widely-publicised launch suggests it was something major that wouldn't have been easily overlooked by owners. It is very rare for a company to have to cancel the launch of an anticipated product due to a hardware defect.
Whatever has happened must be serious enough that it's better to deal with it now than have to handle a recall from customers in the future. LG later clarified to Ars Technica that the issue poses "no danger to the user" and it has "no safety issues or concerns with the product," suggesting the problem is caused by one of the features not working as intended.
Without any more details, it's impossible to say for sure what went wrong. It is viable that one of the new features isn't working as expected as LTE isn't the only Android Wear first claimed by the Watch Urbane 2.
It can also make voice calls through a speaker and has multiple function buttons, neither of which have been done before with the OS and could be a potential source of problems. There's a wealth of other hardware that could have gone wrong though, ranging from the obvious like the display to one of the many embedded sensors used for fitness tracking.
LG isn't telling so speculation is the best that can be achieved. Smartwatches are complex devices, both in terms of internal circuitry and the functionality exposed to the user, making it easier to make mistakes than when working with the less-dense layouts of phones and tablets.