Thursday, September 05, 2013

Move over, Galaxy Gear: Qualcomm announces the Toq smartwatch

All the wearable computing attention at IFA 2013 may have been focused on the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, but Qualcomm, which supplies the processors for many of Samsung's devices, announced its own smartwatch on Wednesday (via The Verge).

It is calling the device Toq, which we can imagine is meant to be pronounced Tock. The smartwatch is a touchscreen device that is designed to be used with companion Android devices, unlike the Galaxy Gear which is limited to upcoming Samsung devices and some soon-to-be-ROM-upgraded ones.

Typical of such smartwatches, Toq allows users to quickly scan through text messages, missed and incoming phone calls, and other notifications, such as calendar and chat app alerts. Currently, Toq works with Android via a companion app, but Qualcomm is considering extending support to iOS as well (can you imagine them not doing so?).

Qualcomm claims that Mirasol, its low-energy display technology makes the device much easier to read in direct sunlight, and adds a bonus of superior battery life. Reportedly, Toq should last between three to five days on a charge, which is a huge advantage over the Galaxy Gear's one day (if you cross your fingers) of battery life.

Qualcomm is also touting easy charging for those times when Toq does need a boost. Simply set the device on its case to charge it sans plugs or cables.

The device will reach retail by Q4 of this year, but Qualcomm is calling it a limited edition device. It seems clear, therefore, that Qualcomm hopes the watch will not just succeed on its own merits, but that it will also encourage other parties to adopt Mirasol technology, which has struggled to find backers.

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