Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 27, 2010
The North American handset market has just gotten more crowded. On July 28, INQ Mobile, owned by Hong Kong-based carrier Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., said it will start selling its INQ Chat 3G phone through Telus and Koodo Mobile, both based in Canada.
The device will boast a Qwerty keyboard, pile all messages into one inbox, and feature a fast browser and social apps such as Facebook. Telus hasn’t disclosed pricing. Koodo expects to sell the phone for about $50, according to INQ.
At this price, INQ should compete with low-end handsets from Research In Motion and Samsung, said INQ CEO Frank Meehan. “We are going into RIM’s heartland,” he said in an interview. “We are coming in with a device that’s really aggressively priced, and with bells and whistles.”
For INQ, the U.S might be next. The company is in discussions with U.S. wireless carriers, and hopes to introduce a smartphone in this market in 2011, Meehan said. He didn’t disclose which carriers he is talking to. INQ is within months of unveiling a smartphone based on Android operating system developed by a consortium of companies lead by Google.
With Canada under its belt, INQ will be selling its phones in 12 countries, including the U.K. and India.