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  (Source: AnandTech)
Qualcomm boasts five times the battery life of Samsung's device, plus more vibrant display

Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (KSC:005930) announcement of the $300 USD Galaxy Gear smartwatch was met with mixed reactions yesterday.  Many questioned the appeal and utility of the form factor in general (why carry one more device?).  They backed these criticism, pointing to a long history of poorly selling smartwatch designs, such as the ones Seiko (Holdings Corp. (TYO:8050)) sold in the 1980s.

Others still weren't entirely dismissive of the smartwatch, but took issue with Samsung's choice to use a power-hungry 800 MHz Exynos core, a decision that reduced battery life to a day at best.

For that "on the fence" segment, Qualcomm, Inc.'s (QCOM) announcement of the Toq (pronounced "Talk") smartwatch may interest you.  

Toq
Qualcomm Toq smartwatch [Image Source: AnandTech]

Here's a quick rundown of what is known and announced with Toq:
  • Price: $300
  • Release Date: Q4 2013
  • Processor: 200 MHz Cortex M3
  • Display:
    • 1.5-1.6 inches
    • Mirasol (E-INK like display) 
  • Battery:
    • Large
    • In a separate band component
  • Battery Life:
    • Max:     5 days
    • Typical: 3 days (moderate to heavy use)
  • Wireless:
    • stereo Bluetooth (serial, Alljoyn)
    • charging (WiPower LE case -- drop the watch on its case to charge)
  • Other: Water resistant
Like Samsung's Galaxy Gear, Toq acts as a second screen for your smartphone, allowing you to scan texts, emails, control music, without the "herculean task" of taking your smartphone out of your pocket.  But unlike Samsung, Qualcomm is looking to make the device cross platform, with iOS support coming (according to Engadget).


Qualcomm CEO Dr. Paul Jacobs comments:

Toq's always on, always connected, always visible wearable technology gives you a 'Digital 6th Sense,' telling you what you need to know, when you need to know it, with just a glance at your wrist or a whisper in your ear. Toq is a showcase for the benefits of the Mirasol display, WiPower LE and stereo Bluetooth technologies and highlights the experience that the wearable category can provide.

The highlight of the watch is its Mirasol display, a special reflective display technology Qualcomm has been developing.  First announced in 2012 Mirasol was inspired by the chemistry of butterfly wings and consumes significantly less power than traditional LCD screens.  Like E-INK it is sharp and crisp outdoors (like a pritned page) where even backlit LCDs can look washed out.

Mirasol
Don't tell PETA about how many butterflies must have died to make Qualcomm's latest display.

Combined with the low-power processor, Qualcomm is promising a much better battery life than Samsung.  While not traditionally a device maker, Qualcomm says it made the device as a proof of concept for the Mirasol technology.  Rob Chandhok, president of Qualcomm Internet Services and Qualcomm Innovation Center, told CNET in an interview, "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."

The Qualcomm smartwatch isn't shipping until Q4, and will only ship in limited quantities this year -- so Samsung (and Apple, Inc. (AAPL)?) may have the lead in bringing product to the market.  But the Qualcomm watch certainly brings some unique features to the table.

Sources: Qualcomm, AnandTech, CNET, Engadget



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RE: Useless
By flyingpants1 on 9/5/2013 3:43:52 PM , Rating: 5
You can choose whether to reply right now or not by glancing at your hand instead of getting your phone from your pocket, your purse, or across the room from a charger. Also, I would swype on a watch.


RE: Useless
By Nortel on 9/5/2013 3:55:22 PM , Rating: 4
It could be cool. If you had preset responses like "ok" and "no" mapped to watch buttons, or even voice to text, it could work quite nicely.


RE: Useless
By retrospooty on 9/5/2013 4:09:56 PM , Rating: 2
"It could be cool. If you had preset responses like "ok" and "no" mapped to watch buttons, or even voice to text, it could work quite nicely."

Wow... I am impressed. You actually said something that wasn't angry, bitter or stupid. It actually made sense and wasn't biased. You didn't even claim they copied it from Apple. Nice one!

Congrats. http://i.imgur.com/UaZH6Mq.gif


RE: Useless
By othercents on 9/5/2013 5:03:43 PM , Rating: 3
Preset responses would be cool especially a "I'm driving" response. I check my phone quite a bit through out the day due to company email and almost 90% of the time I am just putting the phone back away without responding. Having a device I can glance at that isn't as cumbersome as the phone would be a great time saver and would keep me from dropping the phone.


RE: Useless
By sleepeeg3 on 9/5/2013 7:42:08 PM , Rating: 3
Like an 80's pager?


RE: Useless
By Samus on 9/6/2013 4:08:19 AM , Rating: 2
You ALL need to run the "Glance" app on Pebble.

It shows real time weather based on your location, allows reply to email/text messages (up to 6 pre-defined entires, I use ones like '5 mins away' '30 mins away' 'ok' 'be there soon' 'no thanks' etc, decline and reply phone calls, programmable macros of phone functions (like turn off radio, turn of wifi when going more than 20mph) and turn-by-turn directions through google maps/navigation.

ohh, it also shows calendar events/reminders, shows train schedules, stock updates...

ugg, heres the link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=uk.c...


RE: Useless
By vol7ron on 9/6/2013 11:47:45 AM , Rating: 2
90s


RE: Useless
By piroroadkill on 9/6/2013 4:02:43 AM , Rating: 2
It already does. Toq does this.


RE: Useless
By hughlle on 9/6/2013 6:40:12 AM , Rating: 2
$300 so you don't have to take your phone out of your pocket. Seems very justifiable to me..

There might be a market for this device, but i don't personally think it's your every day consumer. More likely some sort of professional capacity. I mean look at bluetooth headsets, cheap as chips, you don't even have to touch your phone to take a call, you won't find anyone actually using them though, other than delivery drivers and such.


RE: Useless
By CaedenV on 9/6/2013 2:18:13 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, never thought of it in the context of headsets. I remember back when everybody was buying them, but now you never see them in use in spite of their cheap price.

Personally I hate having things on my body (other than clothes of course). Watches bothered me to no end as a kid, rings agitate my fingers, glasses make my nose sore, and while I have to wear headphones all of the time at home (so as not to wake the kiddos) I also find them to be a pain. I love technology, and I welcome the day when sci-fi becomes reality and we can have tech embedded into our bodies; but until that day comes I am quite content to only carry around a single piece of tech rather than being a gadget covered borg.

And the smartwatch movement goes completely against the current cultural trends. It use to be that 'way back' in the '90s and early '00s that a tech junkie would have a cell phone, laptop, at least 1 external storage device, a walkman/radio/CD/MP3 player, possibly a portable video player, a GPS for the car, some sort of headset/headphones, and lots of spare batteries, cables, and accessories for all of these devices.
Fast forward 10 years and almost all of that has consolidated down to 2-3 devices with a single USB cable/charger that works for all of them. I understand the desire of companies to make devices to fill the void of sales numbers due to this consolidation, but surely a smartwatch is not the way to go about it. I am not saying that it is not going to be useful for some (just as a phablet would be rather useful to me), but to think that these will ever become popular is a silly notion unless they become a replacement for the phone itself.


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