Attacking the Wrist: Samsung and Qualcomm Smartwatches Are Here

by Istvan Fekete on September 6, 2013

Wearable computing is the new buzz, and different companies are targeting different parts of the body. We have already devoted one of our pockets to a smartphone, but that’s not enough: we are ready to put a computer on our head or our wrist to make us more productive.

After a couple unsuccessful attempts to take over our wrist, Pebble has broken the ice of smartwatches and now everybody wants its share of the $60 billion market. The latest players are Samsung and Qualcomm, but some voices are whispering that even Apple is working on a smart wristwatch packed with biometric sensors.

Just a couple days ago, Samsung unveiled the highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy Gear, the smartwatch that aims to be like no other. And they seem to be right: there is no Galaxy Gear-like wearable computer, at least yet.

The smartwatch features a 1.63-inch, Super AMOLED display, with a 320 × 320 pixel resolution, a single-core 800 MHz Exynos processor, a 315 mAh battery, 4 GB of onboard storage, camera, speaker, a metal face and buckle, and a six different colours of adjustable wrist band.

The Galaxy Gear is a feature-rich device: it includes a pedometer, 70 compatible apps (Pocket, Path, Evernote, RunKeeper, etc.), Samsung S Voice, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy standard communication, and other features.

The smartwatch will be available later this month and will retail for $299.

Another player is Qualcomm, which introduced its Toq-branded smartwatch on the same day Samsung did the Galaxy Gear. According to the company, CEO Toq is all about the display. They know that its design isn’t perfect, but two important features draw attention: its display and battery life.

And considering that we are talking about wearable devices, both are key selling points.

Toq has a relatively low-power 200 MHz Cortex M3 processor on board, and the Qualcomm-signed Mirasol display: it uses technology that it has been around for years, and was demonstrated in e-ink style e-readers. It sips power and can stay on without draining battery life. But this time its can display colour as well.

Toq also stands out with its wireless charging feature: you will simply charge the device by placing it on its bedside-table-friendly inductive case. And you can also wirelessly charge the wireless earbuds that come with it.

The Qualcomm smartwatch will retail for $300 and will be available sometime next month.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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