Foursquare announced Monday that London-based mobile phone manufacturer INQ has selected the location service to be deeply integrated in its Cloud Touch device.
The INQ Cloud Touch is a smartphone that “lives and breathes" Facebook. Running on Android 2.2 “Froyo,” the device gives you instant access to all your friends on the social site, a news feed right on the home screen and endless Facebook chat. It’s the smartphone for people who can’t stop networking online, basically.
With today’s announcement, Cloud Touch has now applied that same social media integration to location by bringing Foursquare features and services to the phone.
“The foursquare experience on INQ is all about engaging a customer to really explore and discover interesting places,” said Frank Meehan, INQ’s CEO. “First, we’re looking to make it really easy for a consumer to discover and sign up to foursquare itself, via the start-up sequence. Then we’re taking foursquare’s great knowledge of the world around you and visualizing that on your home screen, enabling you to explore events, restaurants, clubs, etc. and even bookmark places in a to-do list.”
Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley said he’s “psyched” about INQ’s decision.
Launch of the service won’t come for a few months, but when it does, Cloud Touch owners will be able to access all of Foursquare’s core features, from check-ins to recommendations to tips, directly from the phone. The company said INQ is doing this with Foursquare’s open API.
One would have expected that, being a Facebook phone through and through, the Cloud Touch would have merely used Facebook Places as its primary location service. Instead, however, INQ went with the New York City startup whose name is increasingly becoming interchangeable with the idea of checking in, no matter what the numbers say about actual usage rates.
Recent data from digital marketing agency White Horse reported that 42 percent of U.S. location-based app users are on Facebook Places, versus just 25 percent on Foursquare.
I’ve contacted INQ to inquire as to why Facebook Places was left out in the cold, and to find out whether Cloud Touch customers will have the option of using Facebook Places in spite of this Foursquare integration.
Said a company spokesperson:
Consumers can absolutely use still use Facebook places. foursquare on INQ phones is simply an additional way for people to use location services on their device. Users can swipe back and forth between Facebook and foursquare home screens to use whatever services they chose. Beyond check-ins, foursquare will be a great way for them to find nearby merchants, restaurants, bars and clubs.