“Facebook Phone” Maker Poised for Popularity
Late last week, INQ announced that they have plans for next year to produce a phone using Android’s mobile platform. The announcement came during the Mobilize 09 Conference when Frank Meehan, founder and leader of the nascent technology company, explained that “Android was really most suited for our plans with touch-screen devices.”
INQ’s previous smartphones have used the Palm OS platform, thus leading to the assumption that they were going to continue doing so for future phones. Not so. After reviewing, reflecting, and subsequently scrubbing Windows Mobile and Palm OS off their list of potential platform candidates, Meehan and Company settled on the Android. Android, as a more flexible, customizable, and (some would say) fun platform, fits perfectly with INQ’s strategy and vision. The platform was designed primarily as an Internet phone, not telephone which has Internet access, and that basic premise prompted the choice. INQ is a smartphone manufacturer with an emphasis on the “smart,” not the “phone.”
The Android pick will work in INQ’s favor, but in the process, they will be doing Android a favor, too. Meehan pointed out that phones on the Android platform, as wonderful as they are, haven’t been able to hold much of a candle against the domination of the iPhone. What to do? Meehan: “get the experience better.”
Thus, INQ has plans for an Android phone such as you have not seen before. True to his prophecy, they are going to make the experience better. Android is going to get a facelift under the fastidious labors of INQ engineers. Because INQ wants their platform to be “heavily customized,” a new look is just the start. Beyond that, INQ wants to change the very apps for Android phones, possibly even rearranging the app store (or just scrapping it all and creating a new one). By getting up to their elbows in Android code, INQ might just be starting something that will oust the mighty iPhone, because, after all, people don’t just want an iPhone, they want a fun, fast, and flexible phone that reflects their personality, lifestyle, and entertainment choices.
And that is precisely INQ’s strategy. Those oblique “plans [for] touch-screen devices” that Meehan talked about are obviously confidential enough to keep them confined to the four walls of INQ’s conference room. However, it is fairly evident what the company’s goals are. They want to bust the U.S. market wide open. While the London-based manufacturer has enjoyed modest success overseas (especially considering its newcomer status in the market), they have not made any serious attempt to delve into the turbulent US market. Meehan sees the opportunity.
While INQ’s psychedelic website may not appeal to the eye of the American beholder, they may be developing a phone that will. And we should find out sometime in early 2010.
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