Qualcomm gets into the smart watch game with the Mirasol-powered Toq

Daniel Bader

September 4, 2013 3:51pm

Qualcomm trolled Samsung and surprised the Internet this afternoon by revealing a smart watch that the chipmaker has been working on for some time. Dubbed Toq, it pairs with a smartphone running Android 4.0.3 or above, and features a touchscreen with Mirasol technology.

If you’re unfamiliar with Mirasol, let’s dive a little bit deeper. Mirasol is a display technology that uses incorporates reflected light and interferometric modulation. According to the company’s website, “Light travels in waves, and each color of the spectrum has its own unique wavelength. Our displays create an interference of those wavelengths, so that the color the pixel needs to be is the only hue visible to the human eye.” This allows the screen to use much less energy than a traditional LCD display, as it doesn’t require a backlight to be seen in environments with ample light.

Comparable to the sharpness of an e-paper display, Mirasol has a much faster response time than traditional LCDs, is thinner, cheaper and lighter to manufacture, and pairs well with small, low-resolution devices like smart watches. Mirasol has yet to really take off because its touch response is not as smooth as an LCD, nor does it have the capabilities to reach high resolutions just yet.

Toq is expected to reach the market by the end of the year, and will allow users to receive several notifications at once, stacked, much like the Pebble, and dismiss them with a finger. Out of the box, several watch faces will be available, and Qualcomm plans to open up the software to developers for added functionality.

As it stands, users can respond with canned messages to senders, which are customizable through an Android app, as well as initiate calls or begin listening to music wirelessly on the phone. The prototype, which Engadget had a chance to use last week, offers stock and weather updates as well.

Toq will come with a box that doubles as a wireless charging station — just place the device on it to begin trickle charging — and a pair of wireless stereo headphones that are capable of the same.

Toq will begin shipping later this year for an undisclosed price. It’s unclear whether Qualcomm will market this as a finished product or make it available in select markets as more of an experiment.

  • JB

    That screen technology is cool. That screen plus BB10 would be sick!

  • Tom Adams

    They really really need to work on getting rid of the bezel in order to put a nice sized screen on a watch

  • Rhett H

    The thing is with all these watches, the battery on my GS4 is bad enough. That last thing it needs is something leaking bluetooth from it. A smart watch is pretty useless when the phone is dead… 🙁

    • Samuel Gomez Recuero

      Thats’t why I’m assuming that the samsung Galaxy Gear will use Bluetooth lite to pair cause they metion and update for S4 and S3 for october.

    • Guest

      If It uses bluetooth 4.0 LE or Low Energy it works extremely efficiently. I do not believe this watch does though. The galaxy gear will but is a reason why it is limited to android 4.3. I personally am going to stay clear of these smartwatches. The only way I could see myself buying one is for sports or fitness.

  • Twonald

    i’m starting to think that e-ink is the way to go for smart watches. i don’t need to charge yet another device daily. i want a watch that will last a week on one charge. Or can be charged by solar or kinetic power or something.

    • Mr.R

      nice one…practical…meaningful..

  • Mythos88

    I think I’ll line up for one of those /s

  • Canucks

    It will be pointless if the battery dies less than 24 hours.

  • fidosucks

    This is actually not bad, if the battery is good enough

  • Henry

    This is way closer to what I’m looking for than the Gear. I think the Gear looks like a fun gadget but this is far more practical. Battery lasts longer, better balance and weight with the battery on the bottom, vivid in sunlight and due to hardware should be half the price as the Gear. We’re getting closer to something I want to buy and wear. That charging pad is perfect also.