We've been wondering when conventional watchmakers would jump into the smartwatch game. Timex, a company that's no stranger to advanced wrist-mounted functionality, appears to be the first. They've adapted some of the technology first seen in the Qualcomm Toq developer device into the IronMan One GPS+. This watch combines the features of GPS watches that have been popular with runners and bikers for years with typical "smartwatch" functions like email alerts and an MP3 player.
Qualcomm released a substantial update to its Toq smartwatch today, taking advantage of a hardware feature few even knew the device had: a microphone. The 1.5 software adds the ability to respond to SMS messages on your phone through the watch using your voice, which is then converted to text using Nuance's STT technology. Oddly, no other voice control features are included with this update, though arguably the ability to reply to texts is one of the more common things you'd do with a smartwatch to begin with.
Say what you will about smartwatches - and we do, at every occasion - but you'll never see a Rolex or Omega watch that improves with just an app update. The latest version of the companion app for Qualcomm's unique Toq does just that, with an emphasis on the watch's built-in activity tracking. Specifically, the 1.4 update allows you to set daily activity goals (a la Nike's Fuelband and other fitness trackers) and access a detailed history of your activity and workouts.
Last month Qualcomm released the SDK for its Toq smartwatch, inviting developers to create much needed apps for the device. Unsurprisingly, software hasn't exactly flooded in. Nevertheless, the Toq has just scored its largest win yet - the latest Augmented SmartWatch Pro update adds support for Qualcomm's wristwatch.
Primary features center around real-time alerts. Here are some fuzzy screens showing a Fitbit card and a weather alert.
The app also supports up to three Tasker tasks, with opening the card serving as the trigger.
If you've been eyeing the Qualcomm Toq, but $350 was a bit much for your taste, it might be time to take another look. Qualcomm just dropped the price of its smartwatch by a Benjamin, leaving it at a more palatable $250 with free shipping. This puts the full-color wearable at a mere $1 above the price of its closest competitor, the black & white-only Pebble Steel.
The timing may not be a coincidence after a report from Bloomberg suggested HTC is making a smartwatch based on the Toq and plans to show it off at Mobile World Congress.
It's no secret that HTC intends to enter the wearables market, but we haven't come across many details about what form an eventual product from the company would take. Well if a new Bloomberg report is to be believed, we've already grown accustomed to one. The Taiwanese manufacturer will allegedly show off the first of three new devices to carriers at Mobile World Congress, with no plans to unveil anything publically.
Qualcomm has released the software development kit for its Toq smartwatch, which could be just the shot in the arm the limited product needs. The Toq's colorful Mirasol e-ink display, which is easily visible in sunlight, gives the smartwatch a real advantage over competitors. But without more compelling functionality, it struggles to justify its relatively expensive price point. Hopefully there's enough interest in the product for developers to flock to the SDK.
The Qualcomm Toq occupies this awkward space in the smartwatch race. Like the Pebble, it uses a display similar to e-ink that sacrifices fancy animations and responsiveness for battery life, only it manages to one-up its competitor by supporting more colors than black and white. Unfortunately, at $349, it's even more expensive than the already ludicrously overpriced Galaxy Gear. Yet for people who purchased one anyway, version 1.3 introduces new features and major bug fixes that should make using the watch a more pleasant experience.
If you've had your eye on Qualcomm's super-special Toq smartwatch, but couldn't bring yourself to pay for one that doesn't match your Colonel Sanders-style white suit, you're in luck. The limited-edition white Toq is now on sale from Qualcomm's online store for the same $350 price as the sober black edition. You can also find it on Amazon, but it's the same price and marked as "shipping within 1 to 2 months." Any takers?
There will probably be untold heaps of smart watches announced at CES, but Qualcomm isn't just sitting on the sidelines. It has dropped the price of its limited-run Toq smart watch by $50, but it's a limited time offer. The new $299 price tag puts it right in line with the Samsung Galaxy Gear.
The Toq plugs into your Android device over Bluetooth to deliver notifications and control a handful of functions.