INQ Mobile is to launch a customized Android-based smartphone next year, according to INQ CEO Frank Meehan.
After making a name for itself, by offering up low-cost social networking handsets like the Twitter-friendly Mini, Chat phones, ‘Facebook’ phones, INQ is trying to create something significantly bigger – muscling in on the Android Arena.
Speaking at the GigaOm Mobilize 2009 conference, INQ CEO Frank Meehan admitted the company had also looked at other operating systems, including Windows Mobile and Palm’s WebOS, but said: ‘We came to the conclusion that aside from licensing Palm [WebOS], which is a fairly difficult thing to do, Google Android was really most suited for our plans with touch-screen devices.’
So why Android?
Well, according to INQ, Android is the best option because it offers a large level of customisation, so you can effectively create your own unique phone, but with the comfort of a tried, tested and popular OS as a backbone.
The move is a key part of INQ’s strategy to crack the US market. The phone will be launched in the States next years and aimed at ‘the $79-99-199 on two-year-contract range,’ Meehan said. INQ believes the sector is ripe for low-cost smartphones. The device is also expected to hit the UK market by the end of next year.
INQ’s Android will come bearing INQ’s unique stamp. It will look very different from T-Mobile’s G1 Android offering, Meehan said. Even core Android applications, such as the phone book, will be changed, to enable INQ’s signature social-networking integration.
INQ Mobile has also set its sight on wireless providers in the US. Throwing down the gauntlet to competitors, Meehan said: ‘We can beat Nokia and Sony Ericsson and Motorola at this … we’re small, we’re nimble, and we’re fast.’