Apple's plans for a smartwatch aren't known, but the company has been seeking a trademark for the iWatch name amid rumors that it will launch it this fall in time for the holiday season. Apple declined comment Wednesday. Qualcomm didn't disclose a specific price or date for the Toq, beyond saying it will come out this year.
The flurry of major manufacturers now launching smartwatches indicates that the industry believes there is a niche to be filled alongside smartphones and tablets, analysts say.
Robert-Jan Broer, head of Germany-based market research firm Chronolytics, said many people who have stopped wearing watches because they are surrounded by time-telling devices might consider buying a smartwatch.
"It adds value for them because they can see in the blink of an eye if they have an email or a FaceBook message," he said.
But others are skeptical that these so-called wearable computers will be a success.
"Smartwatches haven't had the best track record," said Ramon Llamas, an analyst at research firm IDC. "A lot of pieces have to fall into place"
Llamas said that for smartwatches to sell, they need to offer a range of useful applications that justify carrying around — and charging — another digital device.
"It can't just be notifications of how many incoming messages you have," he said. "Health applications seem to be the low hanging fruit."
AP Technology Writer Youkyung Lee in Suwon, South Korea, contributed to this report. She can be reached on her Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/YKLeeAP . Frank Jordans can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/wirereporter .
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