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Android-based Cloud handsets focus on Facebook

Feb 10, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive

INQ Mobile announced two unofficial Facebook phones, both of which are deeply integrated with the social network and are powered by Android 2.2. The 3.5-inch INQ Cloud Touch and 2.6-inch INQ Cloud Q are modestly appointed with a 600MHz Qualcomm processor, 4GB of memory, a five megapixel camera, the Spotify music player, and a full array of wireless features, says the company.

The Facebook phones are coming, unofficially. INQ Mobile unveiled its INQ Cloud Touch and INQ Cloud Q handsets, two Android 2.2 smartphones created for people who use Facebook as their main mode of communication.

These are the Facebook phones that have been rumored to be in development for the last several months. In fact, rumors that INQ was teaming with Spotify on an Android-compatible phone date back to Oct. 2009.

For the record, as INQ Mobile pointed out to eWEEK, these are not official Facebook phones and were never intended to be: The INQ Cloud Touch (pictured) and Cloud Q smartphones do not have the Facebook brand. However, INQ Mobile did admit it worked closely with Facebook to "design a deep, pure experience of the social network into the heart of the phone."

Specifically, the home screen on both the Cloud Touch and Cloud Q is a visual Facebook feed that allows users to scroll and click through friends' updates, pictures, videos and web pages. Updates are made fluid by integration with the Facebook social graph API, and Facebook single sign-in is activated across the phones.

There are also one-touch links to Facebook Chat, friends, messages, wall and notifications, and users can check in to their businesses and other locations from the devices' home screens via Facebook Places screen. Facebook Events fully integrates with the Google Calendar on both devices, which are a bit different from an input standpoint even though they share most of the hardware specs.

The INQ Cloud Touch, which is set to arrive in April, offers a 3.5-inch HGVA touchscreen, while the INQ Cloud Q (third quarter) offers a 2.6-inch touchscreen with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Both feature Spotify as the default music player, accessible from a dedicated hardware key, and both will be upgradable to Android 2.3.

Both the Touch and Q models will boast a 600MHz Qualcomm 7227 processor, well below today's standard 1GHz processors for Android handsets. They also offer 4MB of onboard memory (upgradable), as well as a five-megapixel camera and 1300mAh battery.

The Cloud Touch and Cloud Q support triband HSPA, Quadband GSM, and EDGE, and provide Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and FM radio, says INQ Mobile. Other features are said to include an accelerometer, compass, and both ambient light and proximity sensors.

The INQ Cloud Touch in its three color choices
(Click to enlarge)

The phones will launch in the U.K., but INQ Mobile CEO Frank Meehan told AllThingsDigital he is mulling a launch in the U.S., but has no firm plans. TechCrunch received a demo of the device from INQ Mobile.

One of the most intriguing rumors to surface concerning Facebook in 2010 was the supposition that the social network would launch a phone tailored for its users. Facebook was allegedly teaming with INQ Mobile to build a branded smartphone with deep integration into the handset's contacts list.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg denied his company would ever produce a phone, but acknowledged it could work with hardware makers to get the Facebook experience right on handsets. This statement now appears to describe what took place with for the INQ Cloud Touch and Cloud Q smartphones.

Availability

The INQ Cloud Touch will be available in April only at The Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy in the U.K., and the INQ Cloud Q will be available from the same sources in the third quarter. More information may be found at INQ Mobile's Cloud announcement page.

Clint Boulton is a writer for our sister publication eWEEK.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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