You have all almost certainly heard of the main iPhone rivals: the Blackberry Storm, G1 and….not a lot else. The recent Nokia offering has been miles below expectations, and no-one else seems to be able to drum up the interest or performance that the market leaders have. Admittedly both are class acts, and would be very difficult to displace, but I think there may be a phone that will… introducing 3 Mobile’s INQ1.
The INQ1 Specifications
I think it is only fair that I give the INQ1 (pronounced ink-one to those in the know) an overview first, before explaining why this could be big, so here it is. The INQ1 is a new phone handset being released by 3 Mobile – the mobile phone network running in Hong Kong, Australia, and Europe. The INQ1 is a mobile phone brushed metal finish — it looks quite cool.
It has a 3.2MP camera which is a fairly standard quality for mobile phones these days, in comparison to the iPhone is it a bit smaller and weighs a little less, plus it has the fairly standard features of Bluetooth connectivity and memory card storage.
So “nothing special” I hear you say, “How can this rival the iPhone?“ I think it will do this not because of specifications, but for two crucial reasons that will greatly appeal to the younger audience who are oh-so-important in dictating the mobile phone market.
So could this be better than the iPhone?
First of all, the INQ1 is substantially cheaper than the iPhone (3G), the INQ1 comes in at around £80. Being cheaper is always a good place to start when taking on a competing product that has already enjoyed lots of success, but this mobile phone handset has been tailored from the start to appeal to Facebook users — the biggest social networking site in use in the UK — this is shown by companies and organisations already introducing policies on how their employees can use it.
3 Mobile is banking on people wanting to utilize this even more by buying a phone that is tailored towards making Facebook easy to use. It does this in a multitude of ways like combining your inbox so that it will also show pokes, comments, and messages you receive through your account. Also IM and Facebook alerts will pop up to keep you informed of everything that happens. There are also a whole host of other Internet linked applications that are embedded in this phone, including MSN messenger, Skype and RSS all of which corroborate with your contacts list to show all possible ways of contacting people. Incorporating all of these popular means of communication is something that is not necessarily new, but this is definitely the first time that a phone has been made to suit this purpose, which will mean it is better at it, so could prove popular with extensive Facebook and MSN users.
So I think you can see why it is good, but an iPhone rival? I seriously think that if this starts a trend, if it can sufficiently jump onto the social networking band wagon, then it can attract potentially more people than the iPhone. Obviously not businessmen, but the younger generation may well flock to this because of how it will integrate with their online lives so well which could give the iPhone a run for its money. The jury is still out though, and only time will tell, but I do think that could be a serious contender.
However there is a big problem, it hasn’t quite taken off as 3 Mobile would have hoped. Unlike its Apple, T-Mobile and Blackberry counterparts these have not been flying off the shelves, and the press have only really glanced at it. They also don’t have the financial power to advertise heavily, so although time will tell regarding the long term future it is not looking good.
But on the bright side this is a good solid phone, one that will stake its place in the market no matter what, and definitely won’t be a failure.