18
Nov
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If you thought the Galaxy Gear was priced poorly, wait till you see Qualcomm's in-house alternative. In a press release issued Monday morning the monster chip supplier announced that its unique Toq smartwatch would be available starting December 2nd, AKA "Cyber Monday," from toq.qualcomm.com. The price? A wallet-straining $349.99, fifty bucks more than Samsung's watch and about twice the price of more budget-focused alternatives like Pebble. The Toq will only be sold in the US.

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Of course, it's worth considering that the Toq (pronounced "talk," because they say so that's why) is not really intended to compete as a mass-market device. The watch is a platform for Qualcomm to show off some of its more forward-looking mobile technologies, most notably the Mirasol screen and WiPower wireless charging standard. The former is an e-ink competitor that boasts color images, better sunlight visibility, and a fast refresh rate while keeping battery drain low, and the latter is a branded alternative to other wireless power standards like Qi. Qualcomm is so confident of the Toq's power efficiency and multi-day battery life that it includes no power button. The watch does all the standard smartwatch stuff: alerts, SMS replies with canned responses, Bluetooth headset compatibility, and basic bite-sized apps from Accuweather and Etrade.

David Ruddock got a chance to play with the Toq back at IFA, and came away impressed, if not blown away. If you're considering a purchase of this unique and pricey device, you'll want to check out his impressions. You'll also want to mark December 2nd on your calendars - Qualcomm said that the Toq would be produced in limited numbers of under 100,000, so even if it's not a smash hit, it could become hard to find very quickly.

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Qualcomm Connected Experiences, Inc., will make its Qualcomm Toq™ ('talk') smartwatch available to consumers on Cyber Monday, December 2, 2013.  Toq is compatible with Android™ smartphones* and features proprietary Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc.'s  Qualcomm Mirasol™ display technology, providing an always-on experience with multiple days of battery life and visibility even in bright sunlight. Toq starts at $349.99 and will be available through toq.qualcomm.com.

"The Toq smartwatch showcases key Qualcomm innovations, such as Mirasol always on low power display, AllJoyn interactions and WiPower LE wireless charging, that will define the emerging wearable category," said Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, chairman and chief executive officer of Qualcomm. "Like a traditional watch, Toq displays information at a glance with no on/off switch. And paired with a smartphone to receive notifications and content, it allows the watch to seamlessly merge our physical and digital lives.  Leveraging these and other industry-leading technologies, we and our partners will enable new product opportunities and consumer experiences."

As previously announced, this limited edition smartwatch will leverage breakthrough technologies necessary to deliver compelling user experiences on wearable devices. Of note, Toq demonstrates the benefits of significant technologies, such as:

  • Mirasol display technology – always on, always visible reflective display technology that utilizes ambient light to enable a crisp and clear viewing experience even in bright sunlight;
  • Qualcomm WiPower™ LE technology – enables a hassle-free, true "drop and go" wireless charging experience; and
  • Stereo Bluetooth audio experience – first truly wireless stereo headphones that sit outside the ear canal for all day comfort and wearability

Using Bluetooth® wireless technology, Toq allows consumers to accept/reject calls, view text messages and meeting alerts, and selectively receive notifications from their smartphone or AllJoyn-enabled devices directly from their wrist. Qualcomm will continue adding functionality to Toq through software upgrades. Consumers also will be armed with preloaded weather and stock applets from AccuWeather and E*TRADE.  For more information about Qualcomm Toq, please visit http://toq.qualcomm.com.

*Android 4.0.3 and above, 4.3 Jelly Bean preferred

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
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  • andy_o

    (pronounced "talk," because they say so that's why)

    (Coming from a Spanish background) aren't all English words pronounced like they are because someone somewhere said so?

    • Matthew Fry

      More correctly, because the masses said so. If we're not speaking correctly now, we force it till we *are* correct. American way. That's the reason why irregardless is now an official word despite irregardless having the exact same definition as regardless.

  • Kevin

    I find it funny that when the Pebble was released, reviewers had generally negative things to say about it, but whenever a new smart watch is released, the comment is always "It's okay, but you'd be better off getting a Pebble."

    • nvillaco

      which says something about the smartwatch options in general... The best one so far is not even that good. But even if the Toq was unbelievable, it would kinda be foolish to make the investment without at least waiting to see the Google Smartwatch. Personally, I think the Toq's hardware sounds awesome and is perfect for what a smartwatch should be. It's screen is like the antithesis of the Galaxy Gear. Instead of a battery killing screen that u have to toggle on that looks terrible in sunlight, The Toq has a screen that stays on all day, lasts for days, and looks good anywhere. I'd love to see a Mirasol screen on the Google Smartwatch.

  • Matt

    I was interested in this until the price tag came about, if this where around 200 I could have convinced myself to get it out of pure desire but 350 is no bueno

    • trappa

      yeah I also wait it drop to $150-$200.
      with $350 I can buy Asus tablet with full Windows 8.1 instead.. :/

    • Matthew Fry

      $150 for me. And that is still pushing it as I see no advantage to having a wrist computer yet. This, at least, seems like a more realistic package than the other offerings. Better refresh rate, always on, and no crappy charging cradle.

  • Michael Fontenot

    I still really want one. This just means I'm not going to get one.

  • TylerChappell

    Well, I had high hopes for this. Not anymore.

  • Sarav

    People complaining about the price need to realize that it's probably high because it's a limited run and doesn't have the benefits of economies of scale. I'm really disappointed that Sony or Samsung didn't pick Mirasol display for their latest smartwatches. Especially Sony since it should have learnt some lessons from its previous smartwatch models.