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LG’s Android Smartwatch Promises an ‘Always-On’ Display

2 minute read

LG has put up a teaser page for the G Watch, revealing that the Android Wear-based smartwatch will have an “always-on” display.

That’s a big difference from Samsung’s slew of Galaxy Gear watches, which keep the screen turned off until you flick your wrist upwards.

LG doesn’t explain what technology it’s using for its always-on screen, but a couple possibilities come to mind: It could be a “transflective” LCD screen, like the one on Sony’s SmartWatch 2. The SmartWatch 2’s color display can last for days on a charge, but it does go into grayscale mode to save power when it’s not actively in use. Another potential option would be Qualcomm’s Mirasol display technology, which can stay on for days in full color. We’ve yet to see Mirasol in a mass market product, but Qualcomm sells an experimental Mirasol-based watch, called Toq, for $250.

LG also said the watch will be water and dust resistant, and will come in both black with a black wrist strap and “champagne gold” with a white strap.

Power efficiency is one of the big issues facing current smartwatches, as size constraints leave little room for a decent-sized battery. In lieu of long-lasting, full color, inexpensive display technology, watch makers have had to make hard choices about screen quality versus battery life.

The first Android Wear watch makers seem to be aware of these problems, though they’ve been cagey about their solutions. Motorola has suggested that it solved the battery dilemma with some kind of power management technology in its upcoming Moto G, allowing the company to use a very small battery. But again, the details are unclear.

We’ll get some concrete answers in the next two or three months, when LG and Motorola are expected to launch their smartwatches. In the meantime, read all about why Android Wear seems pretty clever.

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