3’s Facebook phone revealed!

We’ve been staring at 3’s teaser page for weeks, but now the beans have been spilt! We know all about the network’s new Facebook phone, due to be unveiled officially next Thursday.

Three’s made no secret that its new handset will allow access to the social networking site, and its common knowledge that it has hooked up with INQ Mobile to manufacture its own-brand mobiles.

INQ’s chief executive Frank Meehan even let slip to Reuters that its newest handset, dubbed the INQ1, will have a price tag lower than $200 (or £125) and offer “tight integration [the phone’s] contacts book with popular social sites like Facebook.”

Oh, did we mention Meehan used to be Director and General Manager of 3G Handsets and Products for the Hutchison Whampoa Group, 3’s parent company? Yep, that’s right – he’s the very man who picked the company’s phone portfolio, and now he’s making them too.

So it’s fair to assume the INQ1 is 3’s much talked-about Facebook phone.

What isn’t clear is how the “tight integration” of Facebook’s services will work. We assume it means you’ll see your friends’ status updates along with their names. That’s not too tricky to accomplish, since Facebook already lets users log in using their mobile number instead of a user name.

We’ve also heard 3’s Skypephone service will be included too, so the phone can make free calls using a data connection.

What’s more, INQ promises a full web browser using the same Webkit engine as the iPhone and T-Mobile G1, the ability to use the phone as a USB dongle for laptops and other software niceties, like an eBay tracker and Windows Live Messenger.

What’ll be intriguing, however, is the price tag 3 applies to its new handset. We’ve heard reports that it’ll be on sale for less than £100. Interested? Give us a shout in the comments section below.

TBC | £TBC | 3

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