Every so often, the chipmaker Qualcomm has a brain freeze and decides it wants to play in the consumer market; it rarely ends well. The latest is a smartwatch that’s going on sale in a couple of weeks. The thing is, it sounds like it might be pretty interesting.
One way the Toq watch is different is that its wearers don’t need two hands to tell the time; the screen is always on. Like the ill-fated Galaxy Gear, the Toq (apparently pronounced “Talk”) really needs requires electronic tethering to an Android phone via Bluetooth 4.0; unlike the Gear, it can be any phone running Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or later, although 4.3 (Jelly Bean) is preferred. No word about 4.4 KitKat.
The phone, which will sell for the comparatively high price of $350, is really a showcase for various Qualcomm technologies: the Mirasol low-power always-on screen, Wi-Power wireless charging, and (in a future version) stereo Bluetooth. Don’t expect to see a lot of these on the street, but it’s a good shot that at least some of these technologies will wind up in your gear in the next couple of years.