INQ Mobile to launch Android phone in 2010

INQ Mobile to launch Android phone in 2010

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 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 integration.

'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 Market.

'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 compatibility.

'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.’


Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today


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