Will INQ 3G Chat Spark a Social Mobile Revolution in Canada?

by Gaurav Kheterpal on July 29, 2010

The Canadian handset market has just added a new member – the INQ 3G Chat. Telus yesterday announced that it has started selling the device through its bargain front brand Koodo Mobile as well as on its own network. Touted to be the phone that will ‘spark a social media revolution’, the 3G Chat is youth-targeted device. The device is manufactured by U.K.-based INQ Mobile, owned by Hong Kong-based carrier Hutchison Whampoa Ltd.

While social media’s popularity has reached an all-time high, social media phones haven’t exactly been bestsellers in North America. Microsoft made an effort to tap the social media audience using its ‘Kin’ smartphone series and failed miserably. Palm’s social media centric phones are being sold for free on contract and the company is still finding it terribly hard to clear off its pile of inventory.

Will the new INQ 3G Chat be a game changer for social media centric phones? Only time will tell.

Dubbed as being “Canada’s ultimate social phone”, the INQ 3G Chat is BREW-based handset which offers easy access to popular online social networks such as Facebook & Twitter and Instant Messaging utilities such as Windows Live Messenger & Skype. The device has a 2.8? QVGA display, 3.2 megapixel Camera, 3G, GPS, Bluetooth and it supports tethering. The device has pre-installed Opera Web browser, an RSS reader for syndicated feeds and Double Twist, which will allow the phone to play iTunes music. Surprisingly, the device does not have a Wi-Fi interface. The user interface is neat and the home screen widgets which display the social network updates look really cool.

Frank Meehan, the founder and CEO of INQ Mobile believes that the smartphone industry is witnessing a ‘perfect storm’ and the time is ripe for launching cheap social networking on phones. He mentioned

“We focus on what our core consumers want to do most with their mobile phone and deliver it at a price point that’s affordable, especially for the youth that are driving the social media revolution. Our mission here in Canada is to bring a great mobile internet experience to the masses.

We know there’s a whole generation of people out there with no ‘off button’ – they are messaging, texting and uploading and updating 24/7. We exist for them.”

The phone is available through Koodo for $50 without a contract. Telus is also selling the device for free on a two- or three-year contract, or $179.99 without contract.

Despite being a staunch social media loyalist, I believe that the INQ 3G Chat phone will have a tough time in the Canadian market. There are simply too many ‘social media friendly’ devices with little or virtually no differentiating factor. So, will INQ Spark a Social Mobile Revolution in Canada? I have my doubts on that.

What do you think? Is Canada prepared for the next big social mobile revolution? Or will INQ’s 3G Chat end up as a failed experiment similar to Microsoft Kin? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment below this post.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS>, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

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