Spilling the INQ

The mystery behind the driedonpaper rubber stamp was revealed rather early yesterday morning, the excitement in question being the launch of the new INQ1 (pronounced “ink one”) Facebook phone on 3. I went along to the launch party in the evening to have a play with the phone (and eat their canapés).

First impressions were that it’s a smaller-than-expected, basic slide phone with a decent enough display, and of course, more Facebook integration than you can poke a stick at. The most exciting thing for me is that you can plug the INQ into your computer and use it as a mobile broadband dongle. I’ve been on the cusp of buying a dongle for a few months, but held off because it’s yet another £10 a month out of the bank and another device to carry around (albeit a very small one). At £15 a month contract, the INQ could both lower my phone bill (currently £35 a month with Vodafone) and give me mobile broadband (just so long as I don’t forget to lug the bloomin’ USB cable around).

Skype is included, which has got to be a big deal for the transatlantic web crowd and presumably anyone with relatives overseas. People kept pointing out that the phone is the first phone that scrobbles your music to Last.fm, but no-one could actually figure out how to make this work, so I can’t comment about how easy that is to use.

If you like Facebook, you’re going to like the INQ. Your inbox is split across your standard txt messages, Facebook inbox, pokes, friend requests and the like. Your address book contains your Facebook friends and your phone contacts – you can merge the two together, but this has to be done manually, which could be a bit of a ball-ache when you first crack open the box. Facebook chat is available from the main menu. Everything is regularly refreshed in the background (better hope the data plan is generous then). You can play about in Facebook on the tube and the phone will sync with the web when you get back to ground level, which is interesting. I wonder how many iPhone applications use local cacheing like that.

In this video Bonnie shows me the INQ and tells me what she thinks about it. Summary: a good recession phone…

I couldn’t get much about what the story is for developers who want to write INQ applications, although a quick Google on the subject suggests that the inbox and address book are available via open API’s.

In this video I’m speaking to Matt from 1000heads, the agency behind the driedonpaper campaign, about their campaign and what they’ll be doing next. They’re planning to send out INQ’s on loan to bloggers, obviously hoping they will review them. If you want one, email matt@3mobilebuzz.com

Of course, the INQ1 isn’t for everyone. In this next video, Marianna (sorry if I’ve spelt your name wrong…) tells me why she won’t be buying one.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted November 14, 2008 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    People kept pointing out that the phone is the first phone that scrobbles your music to Last.fm, but no-one could actually figure out how to make this work, so I can’t comment about how easy that is to use.

    I think you just did.

  2. Posted November 14, 2008 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    “The most exciting thing for me is that you can plug the INQ into your computer and use it as a mobile broadband dongle.”

    You can do that with most phones. I use my Sony Ericsson for that. And if you don’t use mobile Internet very much (a few days a month, for instance), it’s much cheaper to use a pay as you go SIM from Orange for 3G than getting a subscription.