INQ may not be a brand you've heard of, but it's hoping to make a least a significant niche for itself in the smartphone market by focusing on the directness of communication and the ability to stay in touch via social networking sites and the Twitter microblogging platform as well as by phone and email.
The INQ1 'Social Mobile' is tiny for a smartphone. It is just 93mm tall or 128mm when its top is pushed up to reveal the numeric keypad. It has a 2.4in display, a 3.2Mp camera and a paucity of buttons.
Most of the INQ1's features are accessed using the left and right edges of its central square navi-button and selected by pressing the Q branded button the middle. The list of features runs from Skype and Facebook to 3 email (3 is the only mobile network currently offering the INQ1), messenger, phone book, 3 Favourites, Google and web.
By pressing the INQ1's lefthand silver hardware button you bring up a context-sensitive menu list for whichever feature you've selected, so if you've activated your Skype free phone calls over Wi-Fi account, you'll be able to sign in to it or refresh the details (and the amount of credit associated with it).
Facebook users, meanwhile, can sign in using the INQ1 and update their status, as can Windows Live Messenger users, telling friends they are available or will brb (be right back).
Complementing this horizontal list is a switcher that allows you to associate up to five items and create shortcut links to them.
The 3 Favourites list is also useful, as it stores shortcuts to websites you are likely to want to visit. Last.fm, Yahoo Search, YouTube, the BBC and eBay are all offered by default, but you can alter this list with sites you prefer. You probably don't want Bebo and MySpace may not be your thing either - items that betray the 3 network's demographic rather than the INQ1 phone's.
The INQ1 is a smartphone in terms of its connectivity and multiple options for keeping friends and colleagues apprised of your every move, rather than as a business tool. But who’s to say we need pay the equivalent of £630 or more for a ‘smart’ handset (which is how much it works out at being an iPhone or BlackBerry owner at £35 a month for 18 months or more)? For keeping in touch and feeling connected, the £80 asking price of the INQ1 may actually be nearer the mark for most people.