IFA 2013: Qualcomm throws its hat into the wearables ring with Toq smartwatch
Despite all the attention that Samsung received when it released its Galaxy Gear device at its Unpacked event on September 4th, it’s not the only smartwatch to debut at IFA. Qualcomm released its own wearable, the Toq, a 1.55” device running a 200MHz Cortex M3 processor, the same one found in Sony’s SmartWatch 2 and the Pebble. What sets the Toq apart from other smartwatches is the inclusion of a Qualcomm Mirasol display. Mirasol displays do not need backlighting, and are therefore relatively frugal users of battery power; Qualcomm says that it should be able to go for three days between charges. The Toq incorporates Qualcomm’s WiPower wireless charging technology, is waterproof, and unlike Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, is compatible with all Android phones running Android OS 4.0.3 or higher. At one level the Toq is best viewed as a proof of concept, highlighting a range of Qualcomm technologies that enhance the wearables experience. Strategy Analytics expects to see other manufacturers’ license Mirasol and WiPower technology for their own wearable offerings. The Toq is also a fully-fledged product as well, and will go on sale in Q4 2013 for around $299, the same price as Samsung’s Galaxy Gear device.
Strategy Analytics’ Wearable Device Ecosystem service provides in-depth coverage of wearables including smartwatches. Additional insights into the smartwatch market can be found in the report Global Smartwatch Sales Forecast by Region.
HTC releases two new smartphones for customers on a budget
While Samsung and Sony were releasing high-profile “hero” phones on the eve of IFA 2013, HTC presented its two newest smartphones, the Desire 601 and Desire 300, for customers who want attractive devices that won’t bust their budgets. While the Desire 601 (which unlike the Desire 600 is not a dual SIM device) incorporates design cues from the HTC One and the year-old HTC One X, its use of a dual-core processor, a 4.5” display and a 5-megapixel camera allows it to meet a lower-price point than its larger siblings. The Desire 300 is similarly intended to meet the needs of budget-conscious consumers, incorporating similar features to the 601 but with a smaller 4.3” display.
Additional insights into HTC’s strategies can be found in the report Q2 '13: HTC: Shipments Continue to Tumble, but Profitability Maintained.
Acer focuses on video with Liquid S2 smartphone
Acer’s high-end smartphone offering for IFA follows on the recent trend of including premium imaging capabilities in flagship phones but with a twist; the Liquid S2 smartphone’s 13 megapixel camera allows users to shoot 4K Ultra High Definition video, the first smartphone to offer this capability. Movies shot in Full HD mode or in 4K mode can be displayed on compatible TVs and PC monitors, though with few 4K TVs or monitors yet in consumers’ hands, not many buyers will be able to exploit the full capabilities of the device except on its 6” Full HD display.
Strategy Analytics explores the camera phone market in more detail in its Global Camera Phone Sales to Reach 1.5 Billion Units in 2014 report.
ASUS goes large with Padfone Note 6
ASUS introduced a 6” phablet - the Padfone Note 6 - a device that straddles the territory occupied by the newly introduced 5.7” Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phablet and Samsung’s 6.3” Galaxy Mega and Sony’s 6.4” Xperia Z Ultra superphablets. What sets the Padfone Note 6 apart from its competitors is that the Android tablet runs a 2GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2580 processor, making it one of the few Android OS smartphones to run X86 technology.
Strategy Analytics examines changing form factors in the report Will the Slate Form Factor Continue its Dominance?