Qualcomm’s Toq Smartwatch has a unique always-on Mirasol Display, is it any better?

While most of us were aware of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear making debut in a smartwatch’s segment that’s becoming popular by day, little was known as to how many firms even considered making an android compatible smartwatch. Apparently, Qualcomm had a smartwatch of its own in the pipeline, dubbed as ‘Toq’ but pronounced as ‘talk’, Qualcomm’s own smartwatch became official on December 2nd following in the footsteps of Samsung, Sony and most probably Apple if current rumors are anything to go by. Best known for making chips that power smartphones, Qualcomm officially unveiled the ‘Toq’ a smartwatch that would easily pair with any android v4.0 or earlier powered devices to bring those notifications where you can easily see them at a glance.

Topping the list in distinct features is the Mirasol display. Unlike common LCD displays that require a backlight such as that of Sony’s Smartwatch 2, Mirasol works more or less like an e-paper, only that it has capability of displaying full color. Samsung’s Galaxy Gear utilizes OLED technology that lets each pixel light itself instead of having a battery consuming backlight; however, the Galaxy Gear only managed to achieve up to 24hrs of battery life. Qualcomm claims its Mirasol technology will triple the Galaxy Gear’s battery life to three days even though it’s always on. It utilizes ambient light as a backlight, thus significantly reducing power consumption. Whether it’s just showcasing its technologies as claimed by the executives or making an entry in a smartwatch business, it would be worthwhile having a test of Qualcomm’s Toq smartwatch for the enthusiasts.

I’d say everything on it looks interesting except critics were quick to single-out the gadget’s bulky body. The Toq smartwatch become available to US customers via Qualcomm’s website and apparently sold out on the first day for a staggering $350, same amount you’d get a top notch smartphone. The device can be paired with android v4.0.3 or earlier devices and allow users to manage reminders, send text messages and view other information such as stock prices or weather forecasts. Although there’s currently no app store for the device, existing phone apps can be adapted to communicate with it. Mirasol is still a young technology and Qualcomm hopes its upcoming displays will offer better color gamut and vibrancy.

Other technologies being promoted by Qualcomm include:

  • Wireless Stereo Bluetooth headphones that allow synchronized left and right channel audio
  • WiPower LE – Qualcomm’s ‘drop n charge’ technology for charging both headphones and watch by placing them on top of the same base
  • AllJoyn peer-to-peer networking, a cross platform way to share data between various gadgets.

There’s no word for a global shipment except a high demand for Toq smartwatch will trigger a mass production according to Qualcomm, but we expect anything around $350 if it gets to Kenya.


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