As if there weren’t too many smartwatches on the market already, Qualcomm has announced its entry into wearable tech with the Toq smartwatch, which puts emphasis on the mirasol screen technology.
Now that the Samsung Galaxy Gear is out and that people are not that excited about it, given its price vs. specs, other companies are starting to think that they could have a better try at this. Qualcomm, the chip manufacturer from San Diego, made an unexpected move last when when it announced the launch of its own smartwatch, named Toq.
Rob Chandhok, president of Qualcomm Internet Services and Qualcomm Innovation Center, stated the following in an interview for CNET: “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.”
Basically, the Toq smartwatch represents an exercise for Qualcomm, as the chip manufacturer does not intend to release future versions of it. What the company wanted to do is to showcase the mirasol screen technology, so that other smartwatch manufacturers use it in their products, as even Chandhok pointed out.
This reflective display technology looks very much like the e-ink display of e-readers, but is in fact an improved version of that. Mirasol screens look excellent in direct sunlight and save a lot of battery power, but are also able to display colors at a refresh rate that allows videos to be displayed.
The Toq smartwatch will sport a 200 Mhz Cortex M3 that also contributes to a better battery life. Speaking of the battery, Qualcomm decided to place it in the clasp, so that the body of the watch remains thin. Regarding this concern, Chandhok stated: “One question we don’t know the answer to is, are watches good enough if they only last through the day? With watches, we think you’re going to want more than that. Some devices with OLED, we’re not sure how they’re going to make it through the day, let alone multiple days.”
At a price of $300, this is a direct competitor for Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch, but choosing between the two is a bit tricky, especially if you need a camera. While it does not replace the smartphone, Toq is rather supposed to be a companion of it. As far as compatibility goes, for the moment Toq can only be connected to Android smartphones, but iOS support is also planned.