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3 To Design & Manufacture Own Brand Handsets

Gordon Kelly


3 To Design & Manufacture Own Brand Handsets

Is 3 sick of the mess the vast majority of companies continue to make of mobile phone UIs or is it just being plain innovative?

Whatever the reasoning, 3 has decided to follow the likes of Vodafone, Orange, O2 and T-Mobile in releasing its own brand handsets, but unlike the 'Big Four' networks they won't be simple rebrands (many of which were HTC originated hardware) but models it has designed from the ground up.

Conceived during the creation of the telco's successful 'Skypephone' line of handsets, the design and manufacturing company will be solidified, dubbed 'Inq' (pronounced 'ink', an abbreviation of 'inquire') and helmed by Frank Meehan, 3's former group handset boss. Inq will aim to produce 5-6 handsets over the next year with the first one due next month.

Rather than go head-to-head with the likes of the iPhone, N96, i8510, Bold, Storm, KC910, etc all Inq phones will be pitched at the PAYG sector and sit around the £50 to £80 bracket. They will focus on giving customers simple access to data services (3's biggest asset) and provide an integrated cross-platform IM client, email, Skype and social networking applications. Being made by 3 also means each will be equipped with fast 3G Internet access.

Now while such a move would usually force me to turn my scepticism filters to 11, I have to admit the price/performance propositions offered by the Skypephone line and - even more encouragingly - the thoughtful changes made between the original Skypephone and its super successor, the Skypephone S2, suggest some cause for optimism. Rather a lot, in fact.

So no pressure 3. Welcome to the game, Inq - see you next month...


via Mobiletoday


October 21, 2008, 12:10 pm

Interesting, obviously like you say they wont be "bleeding edge" phones at that price but they may come up with some good ideas that probably should be standard for the budget phone market? Like 3.5mm headphone jacks as standard or mini USB jacks as standard so they can be used as USB Modems?

Would be good as well if they polled exsisting customers as well to see what they REALLY want on their phones


October 21, 2008, 4:09 pm

Dare we dream of ANDROID ?


October 21, 2008, 6:56 pm

We should always dare to dream... ;)


October 21, 2008, 9:32 pm

The Skypephone looked a really attractive proposition to me especially being able to use it as a broadband dongle.

Already having mobile broadband with 3 and now shopping around for a new phone contract i was disappointed to find that the phone and the broadband cannot be integrated into one account. You can buy an add-on to the phone package for broadband but not integrate an existing broadband package. I think 3 are missing an opportunity here.

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