The smartwatch craze has gotten a little out of hand, if you'll pardon the pun. Various manufacturers and innumerable crowdfunding campaigns seem ready to leap into the shallow waters already populated by Pebble, Sony, Fitbit and the like. Just because Samsung's Galaxy Gear is the most mainstream of these wearable devices doesn't mean it's the best - on the contrary, in addition to general dissatisfaction with the somewhat rushed hardware, many reviewers found themselves questioning the need for a relatively powerful and feature-filled device on their wrist.
A few days ago, we published a story about Google's possibly upcoming smartwatch. Current rumors suggest that the watch may be ready in time for Google I/O, and that it might be made by LG. We also mentioned that we had heard of a Motorola prototype previously - a prototype that may have been scrapped in favor of a new design from the manufacturer who made the Nexus 4 and 5.
Motorola Mobility held a Q&A session at Mobile World Congress today, and while there wasn't much in the way of spectacle to coincide with the event, there were quite a few substantive announcements. For starters, the company is working on a watch that will be available some time this year. This won't be the first thing Motorola's tried to strap onto our wrists, but the company says style and battery life are two things it intends to address, and it would prefer to create a piece of jewelry rather than ugly tech.
Love it or hate it, the smartwatch is a category that seemingly every manufacturer still wants to conquer. No matter how many devices debut, and no matter how they perform, it seems there are those companies who still think that they have the right solution. According to TechCrunch, @evleaks, and others, Google is one such company, and plans to debut its own smartwatch before or during this year's Google I/O conference.
Samsung leaks have been harder to come by as of late - with the Galaxy S5 probably arriving at a press event on Monday, we still haven't seen hide nor hair of the hardware. But perennial leaker Evleaks has just posted two photos of what appear to be successors to the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo. According to a later tweet, the watches may drop the standard "Galaxy" branding.
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.
So this smartwatch thing... it isn't going anywhere anytime soon (except maybe your wrist). It's pretty clear that, even if people don't actually want them, manufacturers want people to have them. We might as well give in now, because it's happening.
But I digress. This isn't about being "forced" to buy new technology. This is about getting said tech for fewer monies than some retailers would have you pay. If you're ready to hop aboard the smartwatch bandwagon, here's your chance to get Sony's newest offering for a mere $140.
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.