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.
Update: Since this post was published, Pebble has introduced a beta appstore for Android through their developer blog. Pebble encourages interested users to "help us finalize the Android app and ship it to everyone very quickly" by using the beta release and reporting any bugs. The beta release is certainly not without its issues, but interested parties can download it here.
Since Pebble first became available to the masses, finding good apps and watchfaces for the device has been sort of a hit-and-miss 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?
Most current smartwatches, such as the Pebble and the Galaxy Gear, serve as notification hubs for whatever smartphone is paired to them, but this limitation is something several Kickstarter projects have sought to change by effectively turning smartwatches into phones themselves. This approach doesn't address how ludicrous it is to peck out words on such a tiny screen, but Minuum, the Android keyboard that fits the entire alphabet into a single row, could just be the ideal solution.