There is no doubt that smartwatches are becoming the new wearable tech trend, with heavy hitters like Sony, Samsung, Qualcomm and Pebble all releasing smartwatches this year. While every smartwatch comes with different feature sets and varying form factors, one thing is for sure; the smartwatch is going to be the gadget of 2014. According to a report from Engadget, a new smartwatch has been unveiled in China, the Appscom Fashioncomm A1. The device touts Qualcomm’s Mirasol display, which also graces Qualcomm’s Toq smartwatch. This makes the Appscom Fashioncomm A1 the first smartwatch to utilize Qualcomm’s new smartwatch display.
The Appscom Fashioncomm A1 resembles the Samsung Galaxy Gear in everything but the price point. The $213 dollar smartwatch comes packed with features, such as Bluetooth connectivity, a full functioning camera and a GSM chipset which will allow users to place calls using the watch, unlike other smartwatches which make calls through a phone which is tethered to the smartwatch. The A1 also has a 450mAh battery, which should allow for up to 190 hours of standby time, and the vibrant Mirasol display measures 1.55 inches.
Qualcomm’s Mirasol display graces the Toq, Qualcomm’s smartwatch offering, which is now available for pre-order and will ship in 1 to 3 weeks. The Toq includes wireless charging and stereo speakers and can communicate with any Android device running Android 4.0.3 and higher. The Toq provides users with the ability to field calls, text messages and receive notifications on the device. The Toq connects or “pairs” with Android devices via bluetooth, and includes a “premium audio” edition which will come bundled with wireless headphones. Samsung’s smartwatch, the Samsung Galaxy Gear, was only compatible with the Galaxy Note 3 at the time of launch, which meant that Samsung Android owners couldn’t use the device unless they purchased the newest Galaxy Note. Samsung is remedying this by making the Galaxy Gear compatible for use with the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S4 mini, Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 beginning on November 29th. The Galaxy Gear carries a high price tag however, running $380 at most retailers.
Qualcomm’s Mirasol display was created with the small to middle-sized display market in mind. Qualcomm developed the display on biomimetics, which means “technology imitating nature.” The Mirasol display reflects light instead of transmitting it, causing natural reflections to create colors and patterns. Unlike LCD, OLED, EPD and cHLCD displays which dominate the market, Mirasol uses IMOD technology, or Interferometric Modulation, and is in essence a micro-electro-mechanical-system (MEMS) meaning the displays do not require organic materials or back lighting to function. This results in increased battery life and the ability to easily view the display in bright environments, including direct sunlight.
We are sure to see many other smartwatches touting Qualcomm’s Mirasol display hit the market in the U.S. next year, as the year of the smartwatch begins.