The above photo is just one portion of the Patent Wall that resides in Qualcomm's buildings. If you think that's a lot of patents, you should see the rest of the wall, it's practically a tourist attraction - y'know for industry bigwigs and geeks. It's pretty routine for a massive electronics giant such as Qualcomm to hold a dizzying amount of patents, they didn't get to become the number one brand in mobile processors and wireless technology by letting everyone else in on their secrets.
Recently, there was word that Qualcomm would be releasing their own smartwatch this fall under the name of "ZOLA", which didn't sound like Qualcomm, a company that facilitates partners like Samsung, HTC, LG et al. Now though, it's come out that Qualcomm do in fact have their sights set on a Smartwatch, or at least the technology behind them. A recent patent was filed by the company for the "Qualcomm TOQ", which is described thusly:
"Personal communication hub in the form of a wristwatch; portable electronic devices for transmitting and reviewing text, data, image, and audio files; hands free devices for mobile phones; battery chargers."
We imagine that Qualcomm are hoping that "TOQ" is pronounced "tock" by the time it hits the market but, we're not so sure that Qualcomm would bring this to market themselves. In fact, this would properly be the smartwatch equivalent of the "Ultrabook, inspired by Intel" mantra we see with laptops. Qualcomm will probably license this platform out to manufacturers and OEMs that can put their own stamp on things and then subtlety say "powered by TOQ from Qualcomm" or something similar.
It's certainly not a bad idea either, Qualcomm have all the requisite patents for communication in wireless and the like to make smartwatches work seamlessly with smartphones and having a brand to back it all up should work well for Qualcomm. There's no doubt that smartwatches are coming, the question now is just from who, and when.