BREAKING: INQ to launch Android handsets [UPDATED with Video]

by Ben Smith on 11th September 2009

At the Mobilize 09 conference in San Francisco, INQ‘s CEO Frank Meehan has announced that they will launch an Android-based handset by the end of 2010.  To-date INQ has produced it’s low cost ‘social mobiles’ on a BREW platform – something that allowed them to develop handsets very quickly on a popular platform – but long-term its limitations would likely have made staying at the front of the crowd features and cost-wise difficult… something Meehan clearly doesn’t want to accept.

INQ Mobile (INQMobile) on Twitter

“We can beat Nokia and Sony Ericsson and Motorola at this … we’re small, we’re nimble, and we’re fast”, he says describing INQ’s emergence from parent mega-company Hutchison Whampoa.

Earlier in the evening at the conference Sanjay Jha, co-CEO of Motorola and CEO of Motorola Mobile Devices announced the Motorola Cliq (to be the DEXT in the UK when it launches on Orange before Christmas) which sports many features familiar from the INQ1.

The INQ1 and the Motorola Cliq - snaring more than a little common DNA

The INQ1 and the Motorola Cliq - snaring more than a little common DNA

We predict INQ will rapidly transition to the Android platform now, with the recently-announced Chat and Mini devices the last from the company on the existing platform.  However, unlike Motorola, INQ will focus on developing a social skin for Android that exists exclusively on the handset – something that will support their ambition of selling handsets to non-3 (also owned by Hutch) networks.  We wouldn’t put money on it quite yet, but a US operator seems a likely first-step.

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