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The press keeps falling for Qualcomm’s Toq-reality distortion field

The Toq is a limited run device designed to get customers confident in Mirasol and wireless recharging, not a sustainable ecosystem.


It seems like not a day goes by without another Qualcomm Toq-hype headline.

Today’s victims of Qualcomm’s reality distortion field are too numerous to list. Across the blogosphere, from PC Mag to Engadget, Qualcomm’s announcing press release of the Toq being available for pre-order is getting play like it’s a blockbuster device.

But the press is avoiding the elephant in the room: unlike the Galaxy Gear, the Pebble, or Apple’s upcoming iWatch, the Qualcomm Toq isn’t the start of an ecosystem. It’s not an ecosystem at all really, it’s a technology demo. The point of the Toq is to get Qualcomm’s OEM customers intrigued about some of the technology included in the smartwatch.

When the  media hypes the Toq and pre-orders start rolling in, the ears of Qualcomm’s customers perk. OEMs thinking about including Mirasol in a future device become interested when the first gadget with the technology built-in has a few thousand pre-orders.

PC Mag’s Damon Poeter almost gets it right: “Qualcomm’s first production run of Toqs will be extremely limited, with the company saying it will make only “tens of thousands” of units out of the gate.”

The fact is the press tend to ignore this inconvenient truth, from the mouth of Qualcomm’s John Stefanac, the company’s President of Southeast Asia and Pacific.

“We’re not trying to compete in the smartwatch space. We made an announcement last week of the Qualcomm Toq to showcase some technologies,” he said. “We’re not getting into the B2C business. The idea is that we’re showcasing a use case for mirasol, and wireless recharging.”

Not to mention this from Qualcomm chief executive Paul E. Jacobs: “The Toq smartwatch showcases key Qualcomm innovations… Leveraging these and other industry-leading technologies, we and our partners will enable new product opportunities and consumer experiences.”

In the end the Toq may be a great device, but it’s not intended to compete directly with other smartwatches on the market. The press should take heed of this, and stop giving Qualcomm’s PR and B2B teams such an easy win with never-ending news cycles.

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