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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: Waiting for Apple
By Solandri on 9/5/2013 6:02:01 PM , Rating: 2
Apple pulled off those because they were substantially easier to use than their counterparts of the day. The iPod solved the "how do I sync my music collection between my PC and MP3 player" problem without people having to manually copy files between devices. The iPhone provided an easy and consistent interface to the PDA-like features being introduced to phones. And the iPad tapped into a market for a simple-to-use consumption-only device which was always there but was being discouraged by Microsoft and Intel because they wanted people to pay for full-blown computers (they successfully killed off the previous consumption-only device - the netbook).

Apple's problem isn't that Jobs is gone. It's that there's another strong competitor out there which provides just as much if not more ease of use on these less-than-a-PC devices. They're gonna have to come up with a new killer feature if they want their next product to take over that market. (That's provided the competition doesn't revert to the lame, obtuse, overburdened UIs which used to be commonplace on PDAs. Palm succeeded because even though the Pilot wasn't the best nor the most powerful PDA, its UI was simple and it got the job done with the least amount of fuss.)


RE: Waiting for Apple
By mik123 on 9/5/2013 6:49:50 PM , Rating: 1
Just because Apple has been so successful in the last decade means that whatever product they decide to release next is going to be noticed by the market. Even if it's very similar to competitors' products. I'm not saying it will be successful, but it will be noticed. No other company currently enjoys such a favorable market position.

And there's a good chance that Apple design will be more elegant, and simpler to use.

Thus my conclusion that if any smartwatch is meant to become popular, it will be an iWatch.
Of course, if that happens, others will have much easier time to sell their smartwatches.


RE: Waiting for Apple
By Monkey's Uncle on 9/5/2013 8:58:20 PM , Rating: 2
Not necessarily under Timmy. Jobs was Apple's visionary. He's gone.

We will just have to see what Apple can bring to the table. Frankly I am not expecting much originality there -- not without Jobs in the drivers seat.


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