INQ Mobile is to launch a customised Android-based smartphone in 2010,
according to INQ CEO Frank Meehan.
The move is a key part of INQ’s strategy to crack the US market.
The phone will be launched in the States next year and is 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.
Speaking in San Francisco
to PCMag.com at GigaOm’s Mobilize event in San Francisco, Meehan said Android is 'really most suited for our plans with touch-screen devices'.
Meehan said INQ had rejected a number of options, including Windows Mobile,
LiMo and licensing Palm’s WebOS, before choosing Android. Meehan said Android’s
advantage was its keen developer community, which was ‘looking for someone to
put their house in order'.
INQ’s Android smartphone will come bearing the manufacturer'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
'You just make a new set of APIs available, and you link. We're working
with some developers already in the Android world to enhance it. They can see
what the iPhone is, and they would love to be coding for something like
that,' Meehan said.
Meehan said INQ may also develop a new face for the 7,000-app store Android
'We're examining lots of different options, but we've got to fix that
marketplace issue,' he said. 'Google has to improve it, or if they
don't, someone's got to improve it for them.'
However there is a limit to customising Android, Meehan said, to ensure
'The holy grail is enough compatibility with Google so it doesn't incur
too many costs, but certainly shakes up the contact list,' he said.
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.’