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Thursday, February 10, 2011

INQ announces a Facebook phone

The rumors of a Facebook Phone have been around for several months now, and even though the company has explicitly stated that they are NOT working on a phone, the rumors refuse to die. And yesterday, the rumors all got a little more credibility as INQ showed off their custom Facebook phone, called the INQ Cloud Touch.

It's important to note that this is not a Facebook branded device, but rather a phone made by INQ that runs Android and features very, very deep Facebook integration. INQ worked with Facebook on this device, not the other way around. INQ is not a company most Americans will have heard of, but they are a fairly well known phone manufacturer in Europe and Canada.

The Cloud Touch runs Android 2.2, so it is fully compatible with existing Android apps and includes Google apps like Maps, the Market, and Gmail, but it also features a redesigned homescreen, tons of custom apps and widgets, etc. all tailored to bring Facebook front and center. The device itself features fairly mediocre specs and doesn't even compare when lined up next to the big boys, but it appears to be pretty snappy and for Facebook addicts, this could be a dream come true.

The device is expected to be available in Europe this May, with a US launch promised later this year. No details regarding price or potential carrier agreements were given. [via TechCrunch and All Things Digital]

This totally isn't a phone for Android fans. I'd even say it's not a phone for smartphone fans. This device is going to appeal to the younger crowd who may never have owned a smartphone before. Those people who live and breathe Facebook are going to love this thing. I've heard people asking why you'd buy this over any other smartphone with a Facebook app. While true, never underestimate the laziness factor. Someone who isn't interested in gadgets or smartphones will love this because you just turn it on and Facebook is already right there, no apps to install. If by some miracle, INQ can work out a deal with US carriers where this phone doesn't require a full smartphone data plan, then they've got a sure fire success.

I find it kind of sad that there are people so obsessed with Facebook that they would want an entire phone that revolves around it, but that's probably just me. Also, I think this phone looks like a toy. It's kind of hard for me to take it seriously. But, for the niche group that Ryan described, this phone is probably perfect. I, however, won't be standing in line.

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