3 unveils INQ1 ‘Facebook phone’


3 has unveiled the new ‘Facebook phone’ from INQ that aims to bring easy access to mobile social networking to the mass market.

The INQ1 uses integrated software to give the user a direct connection to Facebook as well as other online services such as Skype, Windows Live Messenger and Last.fm.

“It has an Apple-like focus on getting the biggest things right for the customer,” said INQ chief executive Frank Meehan. “It decluttering the user interface.

“Mobile is still mostly about voice and text for the vast majority of users, but those same people use the internet to communicate every day with Skype, Instant Messaging, Facebook and email. The INQ1 allows people for the first time to integrate their internet networks into their mobile so now their emails, instant messages and Skype calls are as simple to use as voice and text.”

The handset allows users to merge their contacts meaning a person’s phone number, Facebook information and Skype details, as well as other information, can all be held in one place and easily accessed.

By pricing the handset at £79.99 on prepay, or free on contracts of £15, 3 believe they will be able to bring the internet experience of high end phones such as the iPhone and G1 to the masses.

The £15 contract will give customers unlimited use of Facebook, Skype and web access, as well as unlimited texts, 3 to 3 calls and 75 minutes of other calls.

Created by INQ, a standalone company owned by Hutchinson Whampoa, the handset is manufactured through Amoi like 3’s Skype phone.

The INQ1 is the first of a range of phones but INQ were keen to stress it is investing in other form factors and 3 chief executive Kevin Russell confirmed a qwerty keyboard version would appear on 3 in 2009.

While the handset is currently exclusive to 3 INQ hope to sell the range out to the other networks, both in the UK and globally.