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Samsung and Qualcomm fail to launch the smartwatch revolution

Mike Elgan | Sept. 9, 2013
Two new smartwatches are really relics from yesterday, not a glimpse of tomorrow.

The Toq's battery is built into the watch band clasp.

But let's be clear, the Qualcomm Toq is not intended to be a serious contender for the future of smartphones. It's more of a proof-of-concept for Qualcomm's technology, especially its sunlight-readable, low-power, color mirasol display technology. The company has said it expects to sell tens of thousands of units only and would prefer that other companies make smartwatches with Qualcomm parts.

But don't worry: The revolution is coming
Despite Samsung's and Qualcomm's poor efforts in smartwatches, we're going to see a flood of devices coming in the next year. We're likely to see smartwatches from Acer, Apple, Dell, Foxconn, Google, Intel, LG, Microsoft and Toshiba. We'll also see startups shipping watches, including AGENT, Androidly, EmoPulse, Hyetis, Kreyos, MyKronoz, Neptune, Omate, PHTL, Rearden, Sonostar and Vachen. And we have already seen smartwatches ship from the likes of Cookoo, GEAK, I'm Watch, Pebble, Sony and others.

Some of these are likely to hit the right combination of size, features, performance and price that will knock the likes of Samsung's giant Galaxy Gear right out of contention.

In fact, Sony's SmartWatch 2 is already vastly superior to the Galaxy Gear in key respects. It's smaller, cheaper, looks more professional, has longer battery life and is far more widely compatible.

The Samsung Galaxy Gear and Qualcomm Toq are not the smartwatch revolution you've been waiting for.

A few hardcore geeks will buy them. But the rest of us will wait until the real revolution starts — when smartwatches are small and sleek enough, low cost, functional and useful enough for everybody to wear.


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