Thanks to a connected car demo from Audi at CES in Las Vegas on Wednesday, you can take a look at LG’s newest smartwatch, which is running WebOS.
Android Central and the Verge were at the [company]Audi[/company] demo, where the watch was used to call a self-driving car to the stage. The most unusual aspect of the watch’s physical design is the three crowns and buttons on the right side. Android Wear doesn’t require a physical button, and the unreleased Apple Watch has one dial and one button. The interface in the short video above certainly doesn’t look like the WebOS seen on old Palm devices or on LG TVs.
Audi told Android Central the watch used in the demo is a prototype, so there will probably be changes before it hits the market. The device strongly resembles the LG G Watch R, an Android Wear device that was launched in late 2014. It’s the same size, and has a similar etched bezel.
LG’s WebOS smartwatch plans were first outed back in October when a few images depicting the WebOS developer program were briefly posted on the LG developer website. LG originally picked up the WebOS operating system in 2013 after HP decided it wasn’t part of its future, even though it spent $1.2 billion to buy Palm.
As reported by Gigaom’s Janko Rogetters, [company]LG[/company] didn’t know what to do with WebOS at first. The team behind WebOS was based in Silicon Valley, but LG’s corporate headquarters, in Korea, consistently overruled it, especially on interface design and hiring new engineers. It’s not clear whether the Silicon Valley office or another LG office is behind the development of this new smartwatch.
The Wall Street Journal reported that you can expect the WebOS smartwatch “early next year.” By that time, Android Wear will be nearly two years old, and millions of people will have bought an Apple Watch. WebOS might be too little, too late, yet again.