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Qualcomm partners with Nuance, brings voice input to Toq smartwatch

The Toq smartwatch that shows off Qualcomm’s(s qcom) display and wearable technology learned a new trick on Monday: Voice input. Using Toq Talk, the watch can respond to incoming text messages through speech. Voice input is powered by Nuance(s nuan), which has partnered with Qualcomm for Toq Talk.

toq talk software

So how does it work? Fairly well, based on some testing I did this past weekend with a review unit and early build of the new software that adds Toq Talk. And I expected the good performance: Nuance’s speech recognition and processing technology is among the best in the business, powering Siri on Apple’s iPhone(s aapl), for example. You can speak your message complete with punctuation and re-record it if the software didn’t quite get it right on the first try.

Toq Talk in action

For now, Toq Talk is limited to text messages and has a 9 second speech limit, so you won’t be controlling apps or interacting with email or social media networks by speaking to the smartwatch. The addition of Toq Talk however, fits in with Qualcomm’s overall vision for the smartwatch: To show hardware makers what’s possible. The Toq uses a low-powered, color display built on Qualcomm’s Mirasol technology and has a unique wireless charger, for example.

As a result, Qualcomm isn’t pushing the Toq through mainstream consumer channels. The company sells the smartwatch directly for $249 but only produced a limited run of the wearable. And a check of the Qualcomm Toq app in the Google Play store illustrates this: The Toq app — required to pair an Android(s goog) phone with the watch — has only been downloaded between 10,000 and 50,000 times.

qualcomm toq

When I reviewed the device I noted that Qualcomm has put some great hardware technology together but the software was lacking. The Toq is a better concept device than an end-user product. Toq Talk doesn’t change my mind, but it does illustrate that Qualcomm continues to understand the way we’ll need to interact with wearable devices.

Inputing text on small screens is a chore through traditional touch displays. Voice is a more seamless, natural method and that’s why the upcoming Android Wear watches coming from LG and Motorola will use voice input for messages and Google Now queries.

4 Responses to “Qualcomm partners with Nuance, brings voice input to Toq smartwatch”

  1. That’s great. Voice input is really more seamless. Integrating this with the smartphone one can draft an email and text message.

    I read patent of Google and according to that patent Google is also working on a watch that has sensors and it created a virtual input area on arm or near to arm of a wearer. It can dispose a virtual keyboard there and that keyboard can be use to draft emails and other text messages.

    The future of wearable tech is going to be interesting. When all of these products will be in marketing then there is going to be a new kind of competition between them.

  2. Dan Munro

    Love the partnership – but Dick Tracy called – he want’s his watch back. The big ‘Q’ needs to get out of the device business (or just buy Jawbone) – it’s definitely not in their DNA.

    • Indeed, it’s a “Dick Tracy” experience with a device of this size and shape, Dan. Not ideal by comparison to some other currently available devices. Then again, this is a limited production run meant as a technology showcase; not as a mass market device.

  3. Pmb Denton

    WOW finally someone got the smartwatch idea right!!!
    This one actually even charges itself and has amazing battery :)

    Solar Photovoltaic layer
    Waterproof IP 67
    Hydrophobic water repellent coating
    AMOLED, nice powersaving :)
    800 mah
    Standalone device, doesn’t need to be stuck to your phone to work
    2nd generation device from an already established manufacturer…