For most of the time, 3 follows the crowd and takes on handsets produced by the major names, but it sometimes does its own thing and this is one of those times. INQ is a new hardware manufacturer. Backed by 3's parent Hutchison Whampoa the relationship between manufacturer and operator is, well, cosy.
Moreover the INQ1 is available on PAYG or on a range of pre-pay tariffs including two special INQ tariffs at £15 and £20 which offer unlimited mobile Internet, texting and 3 to 3 calls. They include 75 and 200 cross network talk minutes respectively.
I liked the Skypephone S2 enough to give it a Recommended Award - something I rarely give to any mobile phone. The S2 was 3's second Skype-focussed handset and was a vast improvement on the original Skypephone.
The INQ1 includes the Skype stuff and takes things a step further by putting Facebook at its heart. So is it a first-time hit or a phone that might be better in its second generation?
Actually that question is a bit redundant, because there is a very real sense in which the INQ1 is a build on the Skypephones rather than a new concept. I say this because the Skype software and Skypephones' user interface are very much a key part of the INQ1.
I logged into my Skype account in just a couple of seconds and had access to all my Skype contacts in just a few seconds more. With an option for automatic login, you can be Skyping away very easily, both making voice calls and using Skype chat. The charging regime for Skype calling is made clear in 3's Terms and Conditions. I won't repeat it all here, but it is worth pointing out that PAYG customers must keep their phone topped up to use Skype.