Pronounced ‘Ink’, the INQ1 – and all future INQ models in general – are designed to be affordable handsets that fully integrate a wide range of services.
The 3 Skypephone, released back in 2007, integrated the Skype service, offering free calls to other Skype users (and more recently international calls at standard Skype rates). It also offered free Windows Live Messenger usage and other Internet services. Designed for prepay users, the handsets now costs as little as £40, with free calls (up to 4,000 minutes per month) available as long as you make regular top-ups.
The INQ1 now hopes to do the same thing again for Facebook, with a hugely enhanced Facebook client that allows you to manage your life in much the same way as the full website version. It even ties your contacts and messages to the rest of your phone, so that when you access the phonebook you will see status updates and the very latest profile picture of your Facebook contact.
All of the Facebook data is constantly synchronised with the phone, so you can continue to check details and post messages or poke people when you’re out of coverage. When coverage returns, everything is posted automatically.
The Skype client is still included too so you can still save a fortune on calls if you get others to sign up to Skype, or you make lots of international calls. It also has Windows Live Messenger and there will also be a tool for tracking your bids on eBay.
All of this will be available for £79.99 on prepay (minimum £10 top-up per month) and free on contract (£15 per month with unlimited email, Skype, Internet, Live Messaging and Facebook, unlimited texts, unlimited 3-3 calls and 75 minutes of calls to other mobiles and landlines), and the phone also has a 3.2-megapixel camera and HSDPA support to make all of the online activities as quick as possible (and when 3 and T-Mobile start sharing their HSDPA enabled networks by the end of the year, the coverage is going to be second to none too).
If that isn’t enough, the phone will also function as a modem to get your desktop or laptop computer hooked up to the net. Okay, so you could have a dongle or just about very other HSDPA enabled mobile, but why pay more?
All in all, for something that started with a very low-end, no frills handset in the form of the 3 Skypephone, 3 has really moved things forward with its latest homegrown offering. We’re now looking forward to the other INQ models that will be released during 2009.