As smart watches slowly acquire the attention of consumers, a company that is normally behind the scenes, Qualcomm, has announced release plans for its Toq smart watch. We have known about the Toq's existence and even some of its features since September, but until now pricing and availability were not specified.
Qualcomm's announcement revealed that the watch will be available Dec. 2 and will be competitively priced at $350. Among its features is Qualcomm's full-color Mirasol display, which uses reflected light like daylight as its primary light source rather than LEDs. The Mirasol screen should be much easier to read in the bright light of day and sap less power than a typical LED display.
A New Competitor
The Toq is only one of many smart watches coming onto the market this year, and once 2014 comes, there will likely be more than a dozen smart watches to choose from. Unlike some of the early watches on the scene, the Toq does have some interesting features that set it apart from the rest.
Unfortunately for a large portion of the market, the Toq is only compatible with Android phones, and Qualcomm recommends that users have a smartphone with the latest version of Android as well.
Along with its screen (something that definitely puts the Toq above the Galaxy Gear and others), the device will also be capable of wireless charging. The Toq's WiPower LE technology will be used for easy wireless charging, a feature that is becoming common among many new consumer electronics devices.
Outside of the features already mentioned, Qualcomm's Toq is relatively similar to the Galaxy Gear and other smart watches which are already available. For the most part, the watch will be used to accept/reject calls and receive notifications from the smartphone it is connected to. These features are obviously beneficial but whether or not people are willing to spend $350 for a notification device is the question.
The Issue with Smart Watches
There are quite a few issues with the current smart watches that have made their way onto the market, and as a result, wearable technology is struggling to take off in the United States. Nearly all of the popular watches have launched with a major flaw, making them little more than expensive toys.
One of the most anticipated smart watches, the Samsung Galaxy Gear, was released without interest from the average consumer. While it did come with a number of features, the battery life was extremely short and the watch simply cost too much.
Cheaper smart watches with longer battery life have come out, but they are generally limited to notifications as their only feature. This has resulted in even their $200 price tag being too much.
Qualcomm's Toq appears to be coming in at the sweet spot (in terms of price) and if its features end up making the device a worthwhile purchase, it has the potential to become a market leader until late 2014 when Apple, ZTE, and others come out with their own smart watches.