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Meet The Facebook Phone From 2008

Social networking network Facebook may apparently be looking to launch a dedicated mobile phone according to Michael Arrington, the editor of technology news website Techcrunch.

The truth is that there is already a "Facebook phone", the INQ1, which was hailed as the world's first social mobile phone and sold exclusively in the UK through 3 UK and manufactured by a company called INQmobile.

The handset (opens in new tab), which was launched nearly two years ago, is obviously no longer on sale but had some interesting features like Facebook & Contact Book integration.

It does however have two follow-ups, the INQ Mini 3G and the INQ Chat 3G which both share a number of features with the INQ1 and which have been called Twitter phones.

But then, Facebook apps started to become more and more popular and ubiquitous and Facebook significantly improved its own mobile website; you don't need to buy a phone to get Facebook access.

Facebook is now already well implemented on other platforms like the iPhone and Android which negates the need to build a competing handset; Indeed, native Facebook support is seen as an important selling point but buying a phone is seldom because of ONE, single feature.

This summarises the whole non-story about Facebook launching a phone. As good as the handset is, it can't and won't cater for the entire market where it will face hundreds of other designs, all offering Facebook as a native feature.

The common link between INQMobile, 3 UK and Facebook is Li Ka-Shing, the Chinese billionaire who has a share in all three companies (and Spotify as well), something that Arrington did not miss.

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.