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Qualcomm Smartwatches

If you are already wearing a new smartwatch there is a good chance Qualcomm had something to do with it.

Qualcomm has been an important part of worldwide telecommunications since 1985. Headquartered in San Francisco, the company’s founders are Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) alumni.

Qualcomm began to produce mobile phones, chips and base stations. These businesses were subsequently sold in 1999, but the company still holds the patents for advanced 3G and 4G mobile technologies. With that access, Qualcomm announced in 2011 that it was working on app program interfaces.

The company has been a major force in the telecommunications and the development of mobile phones and networks. Their long list of products includes:

  • Tracking devices. OmniTRACS is a geolocator and two-way satellite communication system that was designed for the trucking industry. There have been over 1.5 million units sold since its introduction to businesses all over the world.
  • Semiconductors. Kyocera, HTC, Sharp, Sanyo, LG, Motorola, Nokia and Samsung all use chip technology and chipsets manufactured by Qualcomm.
  • Gobi. Qualcomm’s Gobi is a mobile broadband chipset critical for the function of many smartphones. Gobi technology is what allows for different carriers to provide their services on one mobile device. Simply put, it is what lets a mobile phone work in other countries without incurring roaming charges.
  • Mirasol displays. A number of the new smartwatches entering the market are using this innovative technology for their displays. A Mirasol display only uses a small amount of the precious battery power, but still lets the wearer view the face in direct sunlight.

With so much of the technology already a part of their products, it is only natural that Qualcomm would combine some of them to make a smartwatch to pair with a smartphone. This included the accomplished with the Qualcomm Toq smartwatch for Android.

Qualcomm technology and the smartwatch

First introduced as a proof of concept device in 2013, the Qualcomm Toq is now a mobile wearable whose technology is being used by Qualcomm, Timex and many other smartwatch providers.


  • Qualcomm Toq. Syncing with Android devices, the Qualcomm Toq is the company’s own wearable, featuring a brightly colored Mirasol display. It is compatible with smartphones running Android 4.0 or higher. Developed more as a way for other smartwatch companies to see what the Qualcomm technology is capable of, the Toq is not much more than a notification system for your smartphone that shows up on your wrist. For some, this may be all you want in a smartwatch.Thanks to the Mirasol display, the Toq battery can last up to six days which is a major improvement over other smartwatches. It is also very easy to charge, using a wireless docking station that you just place the watch inside of.
  • The Timex Ironman One GPS +. The smartwatch from Timex is using many of the innovations from Qualcomm to enhance their product. This includes the mobility, connectivity and the cutting edge Mirasol display.

What is Snapdragon?

Qualcomm is also behind the development of the complex Snapdragon, a unique platform used as a processor for many mobile devices. There are a number of smartwatches being worn today that are fully operable in part thanks to their Snapdragon processor. These include:

  • Huawei Watch
  • LG Watch Urbane LTE
  • LG Watch Urbane
  • ASUS ZenWatch
  • Samsung Gear S
  • LG G Watch R
  • Samsung Gear Live
  • LG G Watch

These all use the Snapdragon 400 processor as an important component of their smartwatch functionality. Although Qualcomm may not be the featured brand, they have a direct responsibility for the way in which the smartwatch industry has taken off, particularly with Android Wear smartwatches.

While Qualcomm is keeping their Toq smartwatch simple, it is behind the complexity of some of the more advanced wearables on the market. Developing the technology and then allowing others to use it has been the business focus of Qualcomm for 30 years. Expect to see their name featured as a contributor for even more innovative concepts as the smartwatch continues to evolve into a wearable that is as important to own for the consumer as their mobile phone is.


Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is the travel editor at finder.com.au. On top of being an avid traveller, she's an all-round bargain hunter. If there's a deal on hotels or a sale on flights, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too. Though probably not before she buys her own ticket.

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