Hutch to intro Twitter handset

The handset unit that emerged from the incubator of Hong Kong’s Hutchison Whampoa is onto its second device and is sticking with the social networking theme with the Twitter phone.

Addressing the mass market once again, as it did with the INQ1 Facebook phone, which launched last year, the Twitter device – presumably called the INQ2 – promises to be affordable and will feature a Twitter client and 3G to encourage usage of data services.

The INQ1, designed by INQ Mobile and built by Chinese electronics firm Amoi, was the first of many devices to be built by a number of manufacturers under the INQ brand.

The hardware is designed to bring the price down, putting 3G gadgets in the hands of the masses, while the main focus is on software, specifically integration with social networking applications through agreements with Facebook, Skype, Windows Live Messenger, and Twitter among others.

INQ Mobile is headed up by Frank Meehan, who was previously general manager of global handsets and applications for Hutchison, where he was responsible for procuring more than nine million 3G devices each year. At the launch of the INQ1, Meehan revealed that the company spent two years developing a software platform that sits on top of Qualcomm’s BREW system, which brings 3G down to the mid-to-low-tier and features multi-tasking, and is designed to remove interface clutter by relying on a carousel-based UI.

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