Qualcomm, the company that makes the processors for smartphones has created Toq, a battery-saving smartwatch. The Toq can currently be paired with any Android smartphone, can display notifications, play music through its wireless earphones, send and receive texts, and check stocks.
Despite the Toq’s touchscreen display always being on, it can go for days before needing to be charged.
This is due to the Mirasol technology Qualcomm has been developing for years. Mirasol is a type of e-ink display, which is found on e-book readers, and is less power hungry than smartphone and other smartwatch displays.
The display conserves energy by only refreshing when needed, as e-books do. In e-books, and the only other e-ink smartwatch the Pebble, this means that the display is slower to respond. However Mirasol refreshes quicker than other e-ink displays, meaning it still functions as quickly as other smartwatch and phone screens.
Most e-ink displays are black and white only, such as on e-readers and the Pebble, but Qualcomm’s innovative Mirasol technology has enabled the Toq to have a full colour display.
|The Pebble (L) and the Galaxy Gear (R)|
The e-ink display is slightly duller than the smartphone-like display found on other smartwatches like the Galaxy Gear. However, the benefit of an e-ink display is that it is sunlight readable, as the duller, matt screen does not reflect sunlight and it can also be backlit, for reading in all lights, without having to adjust any display settings.
A smartwatch is made for on the go, therefore being sunlight readable is a feature which, along with the extensive battery life has made the Toq a big seller.
The Toq went on sale today, and quickly went out of stock, due to the number of people who had preordered it. However, despite the fantastic initial sales, Qualcomm president Rob Chandock says there are no definite plans to make more. Chandock instead suggests the Toq is a “limited edition” product, designed as a showcase of its new technology rather than as a competitor to other smartwatches on the market.
Qualcomm are currently working with other companies to bring Mirasol technology to their smartwatches.