It seems that Samsung wasn’t the only company to release a smartwatch product in the past few days. Chipmaking company Qualcomm has also joined the list of tech companies entering the smartwatch market with their new Qualcomm Toq smartwatch, which includes a number of great new innovations for smartwatches, and is expected to bring a number of new technologies to the smartwatch market, such as the new Mirasol display, as well as the use of the wristband for certain hardware features.
The Toq is like many other smartwatches on the market that essentially work as notifications devices. It is not a device to replace your smartphone, but it works hand in hand with your smartphone to deliver email, text, calendar, and social media notifications straight to your wrist. All this without having to take your phone out of your pocket or bag.
The Qualcomm Toq runs on Qualcomms operating system, and unfortunately currently only works with Android, though Qualcomm has stated that they are working towards iOS connectivity as well. The watch, like most other smartwatch devices, connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth 4, which really cuts down on power usage.
One innovation that smartwatch companies have started taking advantage of is the use of the wristband in order to make the device thinner. Qualcomm has done this by placing the battery inside the wristband so that it doesn’t have to be inside the main body of the device, which in turn makes it thinner. This battery is expected to last up to 5 days on a single charge, and it charges wirelessly through a charging dock that is included in the package.
The wristband for the device also includes two touch zones for device control, which is something that we have not seen many other smartwatch companies do, and is a great idea for future smartwatches.
Other big innovation for Qualcomm in the Toq is the Mirasol display, which Qualcomm is pushing due to the fact that it is much easier to see in daylight. Other screens like the OLED screen are much harder to see in sunlight, which isn’t always a problem for something like a smartphone, but on a watch it’s much more important to have a screen that is readable in daylight. The Mirasol display technology is similar to that of e-ink, which allows for better battery life. Despite this, Mirasol can display colors, something that e-ink cannot do. One drawback for the Mirasol display is the fact that it cannot be seen in the dark, however Qualcomm has built in a backlight into the Toq for dark situations.
The Toq includes a 200 MHz Cortex M3 processor, which is being used instead of a Snapdragon processor order to preserve battery life.
Qualcomm is essentially pushing this device for the Mirasol display. They have no intention of releasing other products, and even prefer that other companies make the devices, but they want those companies to use the Mirasol display technology for their devices. This makes sense, as Qualcomm has not been in the market for device creation since they sold their mobile phone business to Kyocera in 1999.
The style of the device is very classy, with a blocky and colorful user interface. The home screen of the device shows all your new notifications as well as the time. Not only can you read notifications from the device, but you can also control your music
The Qualcomm Toq will cost the user $300, and is expected to be on sale in mid October – The release date will likely be October 10. It might even be available in some retail stores, which would give it a competitive edge, even though Qualcomm really only sees this as a way to introduce the world to their Mirasol technology. In fact, the device is expected to be made on a rather small scale, so we shouldn’t expect to see too much from the device. Who knows though, maybe the Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 will even include a shiny new Mirasol display!