Android Wear still has some growing to do, but the G Watch R might be the watch to get while that happens. It has a round OLED display, good construction, and great battery life. It is also not completely unattractive, and now it can be yours. Google is selling the G Watch R for $299.99.
Following its similar deal with Samsung earlier this year, Google has just entered a cross-licensing patent agreement with South Korea's second largest smartphone manufacturer, LG Electronics. The deal covers both companies' current patents and those filed over the next ten years. The patents in question span "a broad range of products and technologies" as per LG's press release.
LG's relationship with Google has been solid over the past couple of years, with the company getting chosen to develop two Nexus devices.
The LG G Watch R seems to be the best Android Wear device yet, at least in the opinion of our own David Ruddock. But that doesn't mean much if you can't actually buy one. LG has been silent on pricing thus far, but it looks like AT&T just spilled the beans by announcing its plans to carry the G Watch R in its retail stores. You can pick one up this Friday, November 7th...
Move over, Sharp: LG wants to claim your crown for the "world's thinnest bezel." Modern smartphone designs are bumping up the screen and slimming down everything else, as evidenced by the latest flagships from, well, just about everywhere. LG is hoping to continue that trend with its proprietary "Neo Edge" design. The first production screen in the series is a 5.3-inch 1080p panel with bezels of just .7mm. That's about as thin as the graphite in a typical mechanical pencil.
If you're in the market for a cheap phone with power to spare, there's an LG G3 with your name on it. Well, it's really best if you're outside the US, but do you really need LTE? At $399.99, the international G3 is a solid deal and $80 less than last time.
This is the D855, which has LTE bands for non-US markets—700/800/900/1800/2100/2300/2600. No, that 700MHz band isn't the same one AT&T uses.
The G Watch R is LG's first circular-display smartwatch, following up on the original G Watch that launched alongside Android Wear earlier this year. While the original G Watch looked like a proof-of-concept brick out of an engineer's garage at some angles, the G Watch R very clearly got the full design and style treatment from LG - it looks nothing like its kind-of-predecessor.
A 1.3" circular P-OLED (plastic organic LED) 320x320 screen gives it the densest display of any Android Wear device yet announced, and its ability to stay always-on without drastically cutting into battery life provides it a clear edge on competitors that are struggling with longevity issues.
Google has promised standalone music playback over Bluetooth as part of Android Wear for some time, and it appears with Wear version 4.4W2 we're finally getting it, at least if you use Play Music (you're also getting new playback controls). If you're using the latest Play Music APK on your Android phone and have the Android 4.4W2 update on your smartwatch, you can now download your pinned music from your smartphone to your watch.
We spotted it in a teardown of the new material Play Music app this morning, but it looks like a new set of media controls in Android Wear are live - and here's exactly what they look like.
The new controls get a red-themed makeover and volume +/- buttons, plus a nifty kind of physical remote key animation. It's nice. For Play Music, these new controls require two things: the material version of Play Music (which contains an updated mini APK for Wear with these controls) and the 4.4W2 update to Wear, which is rolling out to some devices now, like the LG G Watch.
Android 4.4W.2 is slowly rolling out to various Wear devices this week, and my G Watch R review unit just received it earlier this afternoon. A couple of commenters have pointed out a new feature in W2 that we hadn't yet noticed - you can now hide notifications, as opposed to dismissing them, directly from the watchface.
The G Watch R is the first truly circular smartwatch, and it's also the first to ship with quite so many watchface options - 18 in all. Here's every one, in both active (as in, the display is turned on and ready for interaction) and always-on (passive sleep) modes.