04
Sep
22

Samsung just unveiled the much-rumored Galaxy Gear smartwatch, but that's far from the only new smartwatch about to hit wrists around the world. Qualcomm, the company best known for building the ARM chips powering most modern Android devices, has just announced the Toq smartwatch. The Toq (pronounced 'talk') will be compatible with Android 4.0.3 and higher, but does not appear to run Android itself. Unlike the Gear, Qualcomm is promising the Toq will get multiple days of battery life from a single charge thanks to its Mirasol screen.

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Mirasol has been demoed at tradeshows for years, but has never seen a true consumer launch. This screen technology is very similar to eInk, but it is capable of displaying color and refreshes fast enough for fluid animation. Because it draws so little power, the Toq can be on at all times and Qualcomm (as if to prove its point) decided against including a power button on the watch. It will charge via Qualcomm's WiPower wireless charging standard (a competitor to Qi).

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The Toq will allow users to manage calls, text messages, and various notifications on the watch. It's not clear exactly what will be natively supported, but there is support for the Alljoyn developer framework, so apps can build in support for the Toq. The device will connect to Android phones and tablets via Bluetooth, presumably 4.0 LE. A second "premium audio" edition of the Toq will include wireless stereo headphones.

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The Toq is being called a "limited edition smartwatch," so it might not be available much past the late 2013 release. No pricing information is available at this time. Full PR below.

Qualcomm Launches the Qualcomm Toq Smartwatch Featuring Mirasol Display

Revolutionary Smartwatch Unveiled at Qualcomm's Uplinq 2013 Developer Conference

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Qualcomm Connected Experiences, Inc., will release a Qualcomm branded smartwatch in Q4 of 2013. Designed to serve as a second display to your smartphone, the Qualcomm® Toq™ ('talk') smartwatch will feature proprietary Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc.'s Qualcomm® Mirasol™ display technology, a revolutionary reflective, low-power display that enables an always on viewing experience, wireless charging by Qualcomm WiPower™ LE technology and a true stereo Bluetooth audio experience, all while offering its wearer long battery life with seamless connectivity to their smartphone.

"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," said Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, chairman and chief executive officer of Qualcomm. "Toq not only represents a long history of technological innovation for Qualcomm, but it also demonstrates our commitment to delivering the breakthrough technologies that redefine the ways we interact with each other and the world around us."

The introduction of this limited edition smartwatch will feature the key technologies necessary to deliver unique experiences on wearable devices. The color capacitive touchscreen display is always on – similar to a traditional watch – with days of battery life before the device needs to be recharged. In fact, Toq's power profile is so low that it does not require an on/off button. Recharging Toq is hassle-free, as it also is the world's first smartwatch to incorporate the Qualcomm® WiPower™ LE technology, enabling a true "drop and go" charging experience.

With Toq, consumers will be able to manage smartphone calls, text messages, meeting reminders and various notifications from their wrist. Developers also will be able to tap into Qualcomm Innovation Center, Inc.'s AllJoyn™ framework to send program notifications to the smartwatch through the Qualcomm Toq app, which supports the AllJoyn Notification Services Framework. Qualcomm will continue adding functionality to Toq through software upgrades, including integration with Qualcomm Life, Inc.'s 2net platform and the recently announced 2net Mobile software. Toq provides participants of the 2net ecosystem the opportunity to deliver new, compelling ways for consumers to manage their health. Qualcomm Life and Qualcomm Innovation Center are subsidiaries of Qualcomm Incorporated.

Toq also will be made available in a "Premium Audio Edition" that features the first truly wireless stereo headphones. This means no wires between the headsets for listening and no wires for recharging. Another key feature of the headset is that it sits outside the ear canal for all day comfort and wearability. The Toq Premium Audio Edition features high quality stereo sound with a dedicated tweeter and woofer for superior wide band audio. Calls can be placed with the smartphone using either of the headsets. 

As this category grows, Qualcomm expects to closely collaborate with traditional ecosystem participants and new entrants to enable new product opportunities leveraging these industry-leading technologies, further driving forward the emerging wearables space.  

At launch, Toq will be compatible with Android™ 4.0.3 and above mobile devices. For more information about Toq, please visithttp://www.toq.qualcomm.com/.

[Qualcomm Toq]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

  • Jared

    That's more feasible as a watch option than the Gear, IMO.

    • dextersgenius

      Still looks ugly though. Better than Samsung's, but still ugly.

  • jonnypedantic

    I don't care what Qualcomm says. I'm pronouncing this like toke.

  • srikanth003

    Much better than Gear.. esp. with wireless charging (common sense!) and Mirasol.. I bet you can't see time in bright daylight with Gear...

  • Colin Kealty

    Huh. While it sucks it's not android, if it runs well that's not a big deal, hopefully it'll have a power save mode since there's no power button. If they can get this out at a competitive price, it might be good! That screen tech sounds super interesting :)

  • IronHorse01

    Color me intrigued lol

  • martin clinton

    Surely 'tock' qualcomm ? It is a watch after all!

    • PacoBell

      It's phonetically the same. They were trying to be cute. Whoosh?

      • martin clinton

        I'm with you, but the story says that its pronounced 'talk' ? Not a good start for a device if nobody knows how to pronounce it!

        • Stacey Liu

          Do you say "talk" and "tock" differently?

          • martin clinton

            With my dreadful London accent - yes! Talk comes out as 'tawk' and tock is more a direct 'Tok', I appreciate other people probably have better pronounciation than me!

  • Matthew Fry

    Proprietary OS with proprietary wireless charging... but no Samsung requirement so that's good. I think I'll wait until the market settles on 2 or 3 major smart not watches before considering one.

  • aaron cooper

    The general use of this watch seems to be a better fit to ME as it will last days before needing to be charged....

    • spydie

      the pebble just lasted me a week before charging. And it wasn't dead yet.

  • iandouglas

    Now that's more like it. Except for the whole "we don't use Qi" thing which means I have to have two charging mats on my night table instead of just one. Proprietary app platform similar to Pebble, but the color mirasol display looks pretty nice. If this is under $200, I'd consider it.

  • Mike Reid

    Qualcomm selling retail products ?? !!

    Weird..., and maybe doomed to fail.

    • Justin W

      It's no different than NVidia launching the Shield as a consumer-use product. Although NVidia does also do video cards and other components, they've never done (that I've seen, anyway), a fully complete product such as the Shield.

      • Mike Reid

        I think it's different in that Qualcomm doesn't have any experience with retail. AFAIK.

        Nvidia has more experience in that area, even if it's indirect.

    • Robert Alex Kibler

      It makes me want it to succeed.

  • http://www.martian-imperium.com/ Lokifish Marz

    Both this and the Samsung are a serious let down. These things are nothing more than a glorified remote for your phone. With such limited features, apps and capability it better cost half of the Omate TrueSmart.

  • Robert Alex Kibler

    Now this is a watch I can get behind.

    • esper256

      Agreed. All the features that went into making this actually make sense for a watch. It's a bit too expensive, and I think Qualcomm probably won't be able to integrate with cool services to implement new use cases (payment with NFC / QR code) on their own.

  • Sean Lumly

    In terms of the style of all of these smartwatches, [IMHO] Sony wins by a long shot. Now, functionality may be a different story, though it is not locked into any particular brand of Android smartphone, which is a plus.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoUzM7WYlP0

    It would be nice to see a comparison of all of these new wrist computers in terms of specs and stock capabilities..

    • http://www.martian-imperium.com/ Lokifish Marz

      Not a detailed comparison and is out of date considering today's news but here you go.
      http://www.dazeinfo.com/2013/08/26/smartwatch-list-apple-samsung-google-microsoft/

    • spydie

      Really? you'd judge the functionality of a smartwatch by whether you can change the bands? You can do that on a Pebble also, in case you missed it. And that video you posted told us nothing about the watch.

      • Sean Lumly

        Did you actually read the post?

    • Richard Keimig

      I think the clasp on the Toq might be a battery, from its shape and size, plus Qualcomm's promise for long life, it could be, and that would severely limit the ability to change bands.

      • Sean Lumly

        This is a very good point, and I thought about this as well. If these companies had been a bit more forward thinking, they could have made the structural band somewhat thinner, with a 'case' of sorts that would cover it, and add a unique style. In this case external batteries and/or cameras would not have to be sacrificed and band style could still be customized.

  • TylerChappell

    This looks far more interesting than the gear, but this whole smartwatch trend of 2013 is a total joke. I'll wait until companies actually have a clue of what they're doing with wearable technology before dropping hundreds of dollars on a mediocre device.

  • Primalxconvoy

    I doubt most of these watches will be supported by devs so they're already doa.

  • HolyFreakingCrap

    Screw Qualcomm, who wants a locked up device.

  • GazaIan

    The problem is, this will probably never be released, simply because of the mirasol display which has been popping up everywhere, but nowhere to be found for purchase.