Qualcomm have announced their own entry into the smartwatch market with the Toq – a wearable device “designed to serve as a second display to your smartphone”.
Retailing for around £200 and going on sale later this year in the US, the Toq has a 1.6-inch always-on screen that uses ‘Mirasol’ technology to reflect ambient light. This means no backlight (unlike the Sony Smart Watch and Samsung Galaxy Gear), making the Toq better for viewing in direct sunlight. Qualcomm says there’s an optional front-light for using the screen in the dark, but exactly how this works isn’t yet clear.
Perhaps the most interesting innovations from the Toq are a case that acts as a wireless charging station and optional Bluetooth stereo earphones that “sit outside the ear canal for all day comfort and wearability”.
Qualcomm are really stressing the all-day use factor for the Toq, claiming that the device is so efficient it doesn’t need an on/off button. It’ll also pair with most Android devices, making it more flexible than the Gear (which only pairs with the new Note III at the moment) and Qualcomm promise that it might link with the iPhone in the future.
As with other smartwatches the Toq will have all the expected functionality – offering notifications for incoming texts and emails and the “ability to manage smartphone calls”, as well as trying to muscle in to the fitness sector, promising future “compelling ways for consumer to manage their health.”
The Toq is certainly the least polished of all the wearable devices we know about but the promise of an always-on screen that doesn’t drain your battery has yet to be matched by its competitors. Add to that compatibility with a wide range of smartphones and the Toq just might pick up some supporters as time goes by.
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