It has yet to be announced but one can be sure that INQ is busy designing (or at least integrate) Spotify's popular online music streaming service into its future phones.
As reported during the weekend, Li Ka-Shing, the elusive Hong-kong based Billionaire and owner of both 3 Networks and INQ, has invested tens of millions of dollars into the startup, a move which makes a Spotify Phone or at least one offering built-in Spotify capabilities, a certainty.
What can we expect from such a Spotify phone made by INQmobile?
(a) Low Price
Expect the Spotify Phone to be available for under £100, which will allow it to be offered on £20 per month contracts which may include unlimited Spotify streaming. More importantly, £100 makes it cheaper than an iPod Nano; the cheapest iPod nano, the 8GB model, costs £103 at Amazon. At the same price level, the choice between a simple audio player and one which includes all the bells and whistles is ominously clear.
A touchscreen costs only about £10 more than a normal screen according to analyst firm iSuppli. We'd be chuffed if INQ could build a Spotify Phone with a 3.5-inch touchscreen - the same size as the iPhone or the iPod Touch.
(c) Expandable memory
We don't really mind if the Spotify Phone doesn't include inbuilt memory. What we do care is that it comes with at least a microSD card with 8GB memory.
A 8GB model can be had for as little as £10.47 in the UK and certainly much, much less when purchased in bulk. Again, 8GB would bring it in line with the cheapest iPhone and with the iPod Nano. They could also introduce a second microSD card reader, a first on a mobile phone.
(d) Download To Own features
Spotify on mobiles won't come for free; we'd expect the outfit to charge at least £8 a month to allow punters to benefit from the premium service. A Spotify phone is also very likely to offer a download-to-own option.
This will allow punters to retrieve songs from Spotify's partner, 7Digital, and allow them to listen to their tracks where the service is not available (abroad, in the tube etc).
(e) Better audio capabilities
A Spotify phone would need to display excellent audio capabilities in order to be embraced by an audiophile audience. To be fair though, the iPod did not set the standards quite high and provided that the Spotify phone comes bundled with a good pair of earphones.
Did we miss anything? Are there any other features you'd like to see in the Spotify Phone? Would you buy one if it came out with the above features?