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INQ Cloud Touch: Hands-on with the Facebook phone

We’ve just had some hands-on time with the INQ Cloud Touch – aka ‘the Facebook Phone’ – and thought we’d share our first impressions. We were shown the Cloud Touch by TouchType, the chaps behind SwiftKey (which is the phone’s default text input method) at a press event in London.

The INQ Cloud Touch is an Android 2.2-powered phone that’s aimed at younger viewers. It boasts a custom interface that’s very nice looking and easy to use.

Like on the original INQ1 ‘Facebook phone’, you get a scrollbar of icons that run across the bottom of the screen. This gives you access to Facebook features like Messages, Chat and Places amongst other things, like the Android app launcher.

The INQ Cloud Touch also identifies your top 5 Facebook friends and prioritises their updates and messages to appear on the main on-screen widget. From the homescreen there’s also static shortcuts to Facebook features like People, Events, Notifications and Places.

Click through to see more of INQ Cloud Touch itself and more of what it can do.

On the left-hand side of the INQ Cloud Touch there’s a dedicated settings key. A press of this loads up the menu above, giving you instant access to all of the Cloud Touch’s main settings.

Things like Wi-Fi, GPS and airplane mode can all be toggled on and off from here. This settings menu also gives you an at-a-glance view of how the battery is doing, how much memory you’ve got left and allows you to change the time and set alarms too.

A close up of the taskbar on the INQ Cloud Touch. This little tray of icons is separate from the main area of the touchscreen. You scroll left and right to access various features of the phone and Facebook; here we can see Friends, Messages, and Freind Requests all lined up.

This taskbar follows you when you move between any of the five main homescreens of the INQ Cloud Touch. So you’ve always got speed-dial access to Facebook features, whatever else you’re doing on the phone at the time.

The Spotify player widget in action on the INQ Cloud Touch. The Spotify Android app comes pre-installed on the phone and acts as the default music player. You can pause and resume tracks using a dedicated music key, located on the right hand side of the Cloud Touch.

The back of the INQ Cloud Touch. A 5-megapixel camera sits on the right, with a large external speaker underneath.

The INQ Cloud Touch from the right. There’s a volume rocker on the right, positioned above the aforementioned Spotify key.

Showing off the top and left-hand side of the INQ Cloud Touch. There’s a 3.5mm jack on the top, next to a micro USB slot. The settings menu key (marked with a lowercase ‘i’) is visible on the right.

As well as Facebook and Spotify, the INQ Cloud Touch comes with a custom version of SwiftKey pre-installed. We’re pleased to see our favourite Android text input method resplendent here.

This is a shot of an app called INQ Type in action. This allows you can also enter search queries, or pre-write messages for sharing (via Facebook, SMS or email) or write down messages for sending later.

Unlike most Android phones, the INQ Cloud Touch features three main buttons on its front. The left-most hard key is your standard menu key and the right-most is obviously a back button. The big red ‘Q’ key in the middle serves as a home key, and takes you to the main homescreen, pictured above.

The INQ Cloud Touch is due to arrive in the UK in the summer, on Carphone Warehouse. Stay tuned for the full Recombu review, coming soon.

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