Qualcomm Enters Smartwatch Fray With Oddball Toq, Boasts Mirasol Display Tech

The smartwatch market appears to be getting a bit saturated, even as most of the entrants haven’t yet actually released a real device. Still, as Samsung unveiled its Galaxy Gear smartwatch, so did Qualcomm surprisingly announce its own bit of wrist hardware with a curious device called Toq.

The Qualcomm Toq will rock the Mirasol reflective display, which “leverages the light around it so you can see your screen anywhere, even in bright sunlight”, so says the website, and it’s designed to use an incredibly small amount of power. The always-on color screen has touch capabilities, as well.

Qualcomm Toq

There are no buttons on the Toq, not even an on/off switch, which makes its function as a normal watch would in regular use. And when you glance down at the watch face, you can see phone and message notifications in the Comm Hub (and accept or reject calls), see your Calendar appointments, control your music, and view stock information. The device comes with wireless earbuds, and it wirelessly recharges by resting its case.

The Toq is definitely a low-power device; in addition to the energy efficient display, and it runs on a Cortex M3 (200MHz) processor. Oddly, the watch band can be fitted to each specific user--by cutting it down to the correct size. The battery is tucked away inside the band’s clasp.

Qualcomm Toq

Like most of the smartwatches being built at present, the Toq is designed as a companion to a smartphone. In this case, it’s currently an Android exclusive, although iOS support could be coming. The device is available for preorder, should be released for real in mid-October, and will cost about $300.

It’s hard to say what exactly the deal is with the Toq. Qualcomm isn’t really a device manufacturer, so it doesn’t make sense that it would suddenly dive into a product market like this--especially when the device in question doesn’t stack up to other entrants, except in terms of battery life, yet costs so much money.

Qualcomm Toq

If anything, it’s likely that the Toq is more of a proof of concept, prototype sort of device; Qualcomm is always trying to show off its Mirasol display technology, and it’s possible that the Toq is merely a vehicle for it--an attempt to get the attention of Qualcomm’s usual spate of hardware partners who would ostensibly decide to implement Mirasol into their own smartwatches.

Otherwise, the Toq appears to be little more than an odd, overpriced, underpowered smartwatch.