INQ brings social networking phone to Singapore

Hutchison Whampoa’s handset development studio has broken into Asia under a deal with SingTel that will see the Singaporean carrier launch INQ’s latest handset.

SingTel will be the first carrier in the world to launch the INQ Mini 3G, which hits stores on September 19, following the same social media focus as its predecessors – the INQ1 and the Chat 3G, known colloquially as the ‘Facebook Phone’and the ‘Twitter Phone’ because of the social networking capabilities around which they were designed.

The Mini 3G features the company’s carousel-style menu interface, giving one click access to popular social networking applications such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as SingTel’s own music service and instant messaging tools.

In keeping with the trend for unified message streams, the Mini 3G also merges contacts on the mobile phone and Facebook as well as messages in the inbox to include Facebook messages, pokes and requests, as well as emails and SMS.

Commenting on the launch of the original INQ handset, Hutchison’s 3 UK, the first operator to roll out the INQ1, said that its strategy of close integration of applications and an easy to use interface means that consumers using an entry level handset, often on a prepay tariff, are keen to access data services at levels typically reserved for much more expensive smartphones. And for the operator this means higher margins and ARPU because it is paired with lower subsidy and network load costs.

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