There’s another smartwatch of sorts on the horizon, and it’s from a somewhat unlikely source – Qualcomm. That said, the Qualcomm Toq looks like it has a lot going for it over its competitors.
First, we should note that Qualcomm and Samsung (with the GALAXY Gear) aren’t creating a whole new market here – these aren’t self-sufficient smartwatches. They work with a smartphone to bring you notifications in a more convenient way, and the Toq and Gear are far from the first to come to market with this kind of functionality – Sony has had one out for over a year, and the third party I’m Watch was made for iPhones. But, Samsung is a big name, and Qualcomm is wise to draft in the wake of their media coverage.
But, the Toq isn’t just riding coattails here. The functionality is much the same as the Gear – you can see incoming texts, emails, and calls on the watch, and interact with them without going for your phone. There are also controls for your music, and the premium edition will even come with free wireless earphones. The big advantage here, though, is the Mirasol display. The display, which is in full color and features capacitive touch, requires very little power to operate, meaning that Toq can be always-on and last for a couple days before needing to be recharged. Recharging is done wirelessly, using a case that looks like it will come along with the purchase.
The Mirasol display, in addition to being low-power, offers up impressive brightness, which is a must for any smartwatch. The screen does look pretty nice, with sharp colors on all screens. The home screen features time and weather, although I wouldn’t be surprised if that turns out to be customizable. In fact, Qualcomm definitely did not overlook weather with the Toq – it’s water resistant, for the inevitable times when you get caught wearing it out when a storm hits.
It looks a lot like the Mirasol display is the whole point of this release. Qualcomm, better known as a producer of components, has never been known to release their own standalone products. The fact that Toq will be a limited edition release suggests that Qualcomm isn’t really trying to corner the market on smartwatches here – this is more of an attempt to show off what the Mirasol display is capable of. Qualcomm’s hope is probably that potential smartwatch competitors will ring them up to get the Mirasol display in their products, which is where the real money is for Qualcomm.
Toq will be compatible with all Android devices running version 4.0.3 and above, unlike the Galaxy Gear, which will be limited to just a few top-flight Galaxy devices, like the Note 3, S3, and S4. You can sign up now to be notified when Toq becomes available for purchase.