INQ Handsets Come to North America

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.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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