The handset maker specializes in low-cost devices that have deep integration with online services like Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Last.fm, and others. It also tries to have its handsets minimize bandwidth requirements in order to make the devices less taxing on a carrier's mobile data network.
During a session at the Mobilize 09 conference Thursday, INQ CEO Frank Meehan said the company chose Android for its first touch-screen handsets because it's a modern OS that was built from the ground up with Internet connectivity in mind. The company didn't reveal many details about what its handset would include, but it did say the device would come out next year and would be INQ's first phone to hit the U.S. market.
While the Linux-based OS is well-suited for INQ's needs, the company will be doing some "cool things" to it in order to make it more appealing.
"Currently Android phones on networks that are selling against the iPhone have not performed well," Meehan said. "You need to get the experience better."
INQ is just the latest company to commit to the open source OS, as Google expects up to 20 Android-powered phones to be released by the end of the year. With so many companies jumping on board, handset makers are looking to apps and services as ways to differentiate their offerings.
Motorola unveiled its first Android device Thursday, and the Cliq will be the first handset to utilize the MotoBlur service. This service is embedded within Motorola's Android builds, and it aggregates content from Facebook, Outlook, Gmail, and other online sources.
InformationWeek has published a 360-degree analysis of the first Android-based smartphone. Download the report here (registration required).