Qualcomm One-Ups Samsung with Toq smartwatch

Qualcomm logoSamsung announcement of the $300 USD Galaxy Gear smartwatch was met with mixed reactions yesterday. Many questioned the appeal and utility of the form factor in general (why carry one more device?). They backed these criticism, pointing to a long history of poorly selling smartwatch designs, such as the ones Seiko sold in the 1980s..

Others still weren't entirely dismissive of the smartwatch, but took issue with Samsung's choice to use a power-hungry 800 MHz Exynos core, a decision that reduced battery life to a day at best.

Qualcomm Toq

Here's a quick rundown of what is known and announced with Toq:

  • Price: $300
  • Release Date: Q4 2013
  • Processor: 200 MHz Cortex M3
  • Display:
    • 1.5-1.6 inches
    • Mirasol (E-INK like display)
  • Battery:
    • Large
    • In a separate band component
  • Battery Life:
    • Max: 5 days
    • Typical: 3 days (moderate to heavy use)
  • Wireless:
    • stereo Bluetooth (serial, Alljoyn)
    • charging (WiPower LE case -- drop the watch on its case to charge)
  • Other: Water resistant

Like Samsung's Galaxy Gear, Toq acts as a second screen for your smartphone, allowing you to scan texts, emails, control music, without the "herculean task" of taking your smartphone out of your pocket. But unlike Samsung, Qualcomm is looking to make the device cross platform, with iOS support coming (according to Engadget).

For that "on the fence" segment, Qualcomm announcement of the Toq (pronounced "Talk") smartwatch may interest you.

Like Samsung's Galaxy Gear, Toq acts as a second screen for your smartphone, allowing you to scan texts, emails, control music, without the "herculean task" of taking your smartphone out of your pocket. But unlike Samsung, Qualcomm is looking to make the device cross platform, with iOS support coming (according to Engadget).

Qualcomm CEO Dr. Paul Jacobs comments:

Toq's always on, always connected, always visible wearable technology gives you a 'Digital 6th Sense,' telling you what you need to know, when you need to know it, with just a glance at your wrist or a whisper in your ear. Toq is a showcase for the benefits of the Mirasol display, WiPower LE and stereo Bluetooth technologies and highlights the experience that the wearable category can provide.

The highlight of the watch is its Mirasol display, a special reflective display technology Qualcomm has been developing. First announced in 2012 Mirasol was inspired by the chemistry of butterfly wings and consumes significantly less power than traditional LCD screens. Like E-INK it is sharp and crisp outdoors (like a pritned page) where even backlit LCDs can look washed out.

Combined with the low-power processor, Qualcomm is promising a much better battery life than Samsung. While not traditionally a device maker, Qualcomm says it made the device as a proof of concept for the Mirasol technology. Rob Chandhok, president of Qualcomm Internet Services and Qualcomm Innovation Center, told CNET in an interview, "We're not trying to be a consumer electronics company, but we do want to make a statement about what we think features and characteristics of successful wearable computing [are] going to be."

The Qualcomm smartwatch isn't shipping until Q4, and will only ship in limited quantities this year -- so Samsung (and Apple)?) may have the lead in bringing product to the market. But the Qualcomm watch certainly brings some unique features to the table.

Source: DailyTech

Tags: Qualcomm, smartwatch

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