Mobile phone maker INQ Mobile unveiled its first two smartphones running Google's Android software, aiming to benefit from booming growth in social networking. Small INQ Mobile, a fully owned subsidiary of Hong Kong's Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, has carved itself a position in the crowded cellphone market focusing solely on social networking focused models for youngsters.
INQ is benefiting from its early move to make reasonably priced phones for connecting to social networks and the Internet in general - a move large handset makers like Nokia and Sony Ericsson are now following. The new models, to be shown to the public next week at the Mobile World Congress trade show, integrate key features of social network Facebook into the phone's key applications and come with a Spotify-powered music player.
Mobile is an increasingly important driver of traffic to Facebook, which says 250 million users per month access the social network on mobile devices. The first model, INQ Cloud Touch, will go on sale in Britain in April with around 20 pound monthly contracts, said Ken Johnstone, head of products at INQ.
INQ Cloud Touch and INQ Cloud Q feature new apps for Facebook on mobile. The homescreen is a visual Facebook feed for clicking through friends’ updates, pictures, videos and web pages. There are one-touch links to Facebook Chat, Friends, Messages, Wall and Notifications. Facebook Single Sign On is activated across the phones and people can check in to their favourite shops, restaurants and clubs with Facebook Places, also active on the homescreen. Facebook Events integrates with the Google Calendar on both devices.
The phones are the first mobiles to use the Facebook social graph API, making it easy for people to follow updates from the friends they interact with most. The default music player on the INQ Cloud Touch and INQ Cloud Q is Spotify, and all Spotify features are available to subscribers through a dedicated Spotify key.
The INQ Cloud Touch is a 3.5" HGVA, Android 2.2 touch device, and the INQ Cloud Q is a 2.6" Android 2.2 touch QWERTY.
The INQ Cloud Touch is powered by a Qualcomm 600MHz processor and includes a 5 megapixel autofocus camera.