So we’ve all known for a while now that INQ has been busy working on its first Android handsets -more specifically a Facebook-centric phone sprinkled with recent rumours about a partnership with Spotify. Today, the London-headquartered ‘social mobile’ company unveiled the Cloud Touch and Cloud Q both running on Android 2.2 (Froyo). Leila Makki reports.
The Cloud Touch has a 3.5 inch HGVA capacitive touchscreen with a 5 megapixel camera, whilst the Cloud Q features a 2.6 inch touch Qwerty and 3.2 megapixel camera.
Facebook and INQ collaborated on the devices, which feature a customised Facebook experience on the homescreen built around a visual media feed. There are also links to Facebook Chat, Friends, Messages, Wall and Notifications and access to Facebook Places. There’s even a full integration of Facebook Events with Google Calendar.
But be careful how you refer to the phones as INQ's chief executive Frank Meehan took to Twitter last night to set the game straight:
“INQ Cloud Touch is live. Not a Facebook Phone! It's a deeply integrated Android social device giving faster access to Facebook & Spotify.”
Both Android-powered handsets come with access to the thousands of apps available on Android Market including the Facebook application. So why create a double Facebook experience by adding a customisable layer using the Facebook social graph API? Well according to Soheb Panja, Head of Insights at INQ, its target 16-24 demographic, “was pretty uninspired by the fact that there was just a Facebook application on their phone as it’s increasingly become their core form of communication.
If they were allowed to have one mode of communication, they would choose Facebook over voice and over email - so we wanted to create a very rich Facebook experience for mobile.”
But why stop at Facebook? INQ has previously rolled out a Skypephone along with UK mobile operator 3 and a Twitter phone - so surely the subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa could integrate more than one social media experience per phone?
“There are different social networks out there but Facebook has so much depth and integration.
A lot of the work INQ has done is to understand how our target audience are using Facebook.”
The mid-range smartphones also include a dedicated “Spotify” key on both handsets thanks to a partnership deal with the Swedish digital music service.
Marcel Rutte, Head of Handset Product Management at INQ told TelecomTV that you don’t need a premium account to access the Spotify default music player. The service enables users to listen to local music from their desktop by wireless syncing it with the INQ handsets.
“Spotify is a music service that the ‘Facebook generation’ are already familiar with - so it was a natural progression to take it to mobile,” added Panja.
So what’s next for the social mobile manufacturer?
As video chatting becomes more prevalent due to the influx of handsets sporting forward facing cameras and Apple’s marketing efforts to push “Facetime” to the masses - INQ is closely watching this space.
And though the Cloud Touch and Cloud Q run on Froyo, they are looking forward to what they can do with Gingerbread in the future, said Rutte.
please sign in to rate this article