INQ Mobile

A great Facebook app can’t beat a true Facebook Phone

A great Facebook app can’t beat a true Facebook Phone

Every few months, the Facebook Phone saga resurfaces with talk of a dedicated social device range, and as night follows day comes the suggestion that "a great Facebook app is all they need." All things being equal, it's a good argument: rather than step outside of the comfort zone of software development and attempt to figure the complexities of radio chipsets, mobile processors and carrier deals, Zuckerberg & Co. could focus on keeping the existing Facebook apps at the top of their game across iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Problem is, in the mobile market today, all things are certainly not equal.

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INQ Mobile’s First Attempt At Facebook Phone

INQ Mobile’s First Attempt At Facebook Phone

Facebook has been denying rumors that they are preparing a self-branded phone to compete with Apple and Google. Instead, they say their horizontal approach is focused on developing deeper integration of their social platform into all types of phones by forming partnerships with cellphone manufacturers. One of their partners, INQ Mobile, has just given a sneak peak of a pre-production Android-based phone that is deeply Facebook integrated.

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INQ Cloud Touch Could be the Facebook Phone

INQ Cloud Touch Could be the Facebook Phone

The Facebook phone has kind of dropped off the radar recently, especially with Facebook having a pair of announcements not too long ago, and none of them revealing a phone that integrates Facebook in a new and bold way. According to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG)'s recently filing, dating back to December 23rd, 2010, it looks like the rumors about the Facebook phone are going to pick up speed again, as a new device from INQ has popped up.

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The Daily Slash: September 23rd 2010

The Daily Slash: September 23rd 2010

Welcome to tonight's edition of The Daily Slash. Tonight, in our story from around the Web, it looks like the 3D in the home market is about to get interesting, with the possibility of cheaper 3D glasses being introduced. And then, as usual, we'll take a spin through the R3 Media Network of sites and see what's going on. So, let's get right into it.

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INQ Facebook phone: Spotify bundle & cloud sync?

INQ Facebook phone: Spotify bundle & cloud sync?

We guessed the latest batch of Facebook phone rumors from this morning wouldn't be the last we'd hear about the supposed INQ mobile/Facebook collaboration, and on cue a new set of tidbits have arrived.  GigaOm have been piecing together their own sources and have fleshed things out a little: they say Bloomberg's H1 2011 timescale is over-confident but that the first network to see the Facebook phone will be Hutchinson's 3, likely with a Spotify bundle in tow.  While they reiterate that the vaunted AT&T deal hasn't been finalized yet, they also say that, if Spotify manage their predicted December US launch, access could also be bundled on the AT&T version of the smartphone(s).

They also go on to mix in some speculation about the hardware itself, though it's tricky to work out exactly where the leaks end and the wishful-thinking begins.  A stripped-down "thin" Android build is the underlying OS, with Facebook an HTML5 layer on top; your Facebook login details trigger an auto-sync, pulling in contacts, calendar and multimedia.

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Two INQ Mobile Facebook phones tipped for 2011 debut

Two INQ Mobile Facebook phones tipped for 2011 debut

The Facebook phone rumors refuse to die, and now Bloomberg has chimed in with its own "three people familiar with the matter."  According to those unnamed sources, Facebook has been working with INQ Mobile on not one but two smartphones, which will see a European release in the first half of 2011 and potentially an AT&T debut in July or August that year.  However, Facebook apparently "hasn't decided" if it will be putting its brand on the handsets.

According to one of the sources, the two new phones will each run Android; one will be a full-touchscreen device, while the other will have a hardware QWERTY keyboard and a touchscreen.  INQ confirmed they were looking at shifting to Android in September last year, as well as more unusual form-factors and even flexible displays, though have yet to actually unveil any such devices.

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INQ Mobile confirm Android intent; considering “wrap-around” and flexible screens

INQ Mobile confirm Android intent; considering “wrap-around” and flexible screens

INQ Mobile may be best known right now for their budget social networking phones, the imminent Chat 3G and Mini 3G, but they also have plans for Android and more distinctive form-factors.  Speaking at the Mobilize Conference yesterday - the same event at which Motorola announced their CLIQ Android handset - company CEO Frank Meehan revealed that "[INQ Mobile] will do some pretty cool things on Android".

Meehan declined to go into specific detail at the event as to what exactly those "pretty cool things" might be, but he did suggest that non-standard form-factors may be high on INQ's agenda.  "Device design is something we really focus on," he told Om Malik, "and [we're] looking beyond QWERTY and touch to wrap-around and flexible screens."

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INQ Mobile Mini 3G lands from early October

INQ Mobile Mini 3G lands from early October

UK carrier 3 have released pricing details on their entry-level social media phone, the INQ Mobile Mini 3G.  Announced back in August, the compact candybar packs Twitter, Facebook, push-Gmail, Skype and instant-messaging, and will cost either £59.99 ($98) on a pre-pay tariff or from free on a monthly plan when it goes on sale in early October.

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INQ Mobile Chat 3G and Mini 3G social networking phones revealed

INQ Mobile Chat 3G and Mini 3G social networking phones revealed

INQ Mobile are probably best known for their Facebook phone for UK carrier Three, but the company - who are actually owned by Three's parent company - have been working on a couple of new devices to lure in social networkers.  The INQ Chat 3G is their first attempt at a QWERTY messaging phone, while the INQ Mini 3G has a more traditional form-factor.  Both pack Twitter, Facebook, push-Gmail, Skype and instant-messaging, together with 3G and tethered-modem connectivity.

 

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