Rumours of an INQ Android phone, an INQ Spotify phone, or some wonderful fusion of the two have been floating around for months, so we took the time this week at Mobile World Congress to collar a senior exec at the messaging mobile sensation and find out just what’s going on. While he wasn’t about to spill the beans on INQ’s roadmap for 2010, he did have some very positive things to say about both Android and Spotify. Coincidence? Read on for the details.
We sat down with Jeff Taylor, INQ’s co-founder and marketing director, to talk about the company’s success and its future. With several companies touting Android phone tech at Barcelona this week that could actually undercut some of INQ’s social mobiles, we asked him whether he was worried about the price of a user friendly smartphone OS coming down – and whether INQ would be joining Google’s swelling ranks.
Taylor unsurprisingly didn’t see Android phones getting cheaper as a serious threat. “We see this time and time again: just because you can do something for a price, it doesn’t mean the consumer then will do it. We see so many times when we see the industry innovates technologically at a level and then leaves the customer behind because UI is not right, the integration’s not right,” he told us.
But with Android becoming all the more user friendly with version 2.x, we asked Jeff if INQ was making an Android phone. He wouldn’t confirm anything, but did give Google’s OS a glowing review, saying “We love Android, we think Android’s a great base to work on actually. It’s a really, really good platform to work with.”
We then broached the subject of media, and whether Spotify is something we could see on INQ phones. Taylor said the company would only bring in new media features where they really matched the communications features for ease of use (“We’re not in the media player business”), but then went on to praise Spotify unprompted.
“Spotify on the mobile is a really interesting proposition… And it’s bloody good value – even the Premium is good value I think, which we perhaps haven’t seen in music to date.”
That’s quite a widely shared attitude, but it’s worth noting two things: INQ’s CEO Frank Meehan happens to sit on the board of Spotify, and perhaps more tellingly, when we asked what the number one new feature INQ users asked for was, Taylor dodged the question entirely, saying that “if I told you, you’d get a better sense of what we’re thinking about at the moment.”
Of course, the number one requested feature could be neither Android not Spotify, but whatever most INQ owners have been clamouring for, it sounds like wishes are about to be granted. Whatever it is though, you can expect INQ to stamp its design seal of approval all over it: Taylor stressed that anything INQ released would have “a strong degree of INQ’s design principles.” An INQ Android skin perhaps? We’ll keep you posted.
Out TBC | £TBC | INQ