We have had rumours of Facebook phones for some time now but rather than seeing one specific Facebook Phone, what we are going to get is a range of phones from different manufacturers which will have the social networking behemoth deeply integrated into their UI.
INQ has become the first to the table with a couple of Android-running devices called the Cloud Touch and the Cloud Q. The major difference in the phones is that the Cloud Touch has a large touchscreen (who’d have guessed) and the Cloud Q has a physical QWERTY keyboard. So what exactly will this deep integration mean? Well, on the INQ phones it will mean a slew of widgets to populate your homescreen (by wua of the Facebook social graph API) to give you status updates and friend’s photos. There will also be a sliding shortcut bar along the bottom which will give you quick access to other Facebook features such as Chat and Places.
The Cloud Touch has a 3.5in HVGA capacitive screen, will run Android 2.2, comes with a 4GB microSD card and has a 5 megapixel aufo focus camera. This will all be powered by a Qualcomm processor running at 600MHz but will only come with a puny 4MB of internal memory. One of the most appealing aspects of the Cloud Touch, and indeed the Cloud Q, is a pairing with Spotify. The Spotify app comes as the default music app on the phones which means you can access and manage your playlists on the device as you would with the computer, but unless you pay the Premium subscription fee there's no access to streamed music.
As we said already the Cloud Q is pretty much the same phone as the Cloud Touch and comes with a 2.6in touchscreen above a full QWERTY keyboard. Another unique feature to these phones is their approach to Wi-Fi, in an effort to save your data allowance, not to mention the battery life of the phones. The phones automatically switch off Wi-Fi when you move away from one of your saved wireless hotspots but if you head back to one of these spots, the Wi-Fi is automatically switched back on to save on 3G usage. Simple.
The Cloud Q and the Cloud Touch will both be budget smartphones aimed at those who want to use Facebook more than anything else on their phones and will be coming to a number of providers by April but a definite price or release date have not been disclosed yet.