Right around the time Samsung announced its Galaxy Gear smartwatch, Qualcomm also announced its Toq smartwatch, although more quietely. It seems Toq is finally coming to market on December 2nd, for the not so low price of $350.
Unlike many other existent smartwatches out there, Toq doesn’t use Android as its OS, and instead is using a more proprietary OS made by Qualcomm. But that’s not the special part about the Toq smartwatch. My favorite feature from it is definitely the Mirasol display, which promises days of battery life, even as the display is always turned on.
Mirasol is neither e-ink, which only draws power when you’re refreshing the screen, but can’t show that many colors (most can’t at all right now), nor LCD. It’s about an order of magnitude more efficient than LCD. That doesn’t mean you’ll get 10x more battery life, because as we know there are more components and factors that drain battery life from a device, but it should have a battery life of about 3x compared to an equivalent device using LCD or AMOLED.
Its other advantage is that it’s not backlit, and it reflects light just like e-ink, so when you’re under direct sunlight, you’ll actually be able to see better on it, than in low-light (although it looks like Qualcomm has provided a front-light for it, much like you see on the Kindle Paperwhite).
Another nice feature of the Toq smartwatch is that you can charge it wirelessly with any Qi compatible wireless charger. This isn’t necessarily a must-have feature, but it does make it easier to keep the smartwatch charged at all times. Although it has much better battery life than other smartwatches, a few days or a week without charge is still a far cry from when we used to change the batteries from our watches every few years.
Toq will be compatible with Android smartphones, as a companion device, although there are probably not a lot of apps available for it right now. The price also seems a little high to me, and if the standard pricing for smartwatches remains at around $300, I’m not sure if they will appeal to the mass market too much, but that remains to be seen.