It's the rumour that just won't go away: that one of these days social networking colossus Facebook is going to step outside of the virtual world and put its logo on a shiny new mobile phone.
Now there's another candidate for the prize: INQ Mobile's forthcoming Cloud Touch, which has just gone through the Bluetooth certification process dripping in Facebook integration.
It doesn't help that Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has actually gone on record to say: “There’s been this rumour that Facebook is going to build a smartphone. What a novel idea, but no.” That was in November, when invitations to a Facebook 'mobile' event led to the usual flurry of speculation, which was once again dashed on the day when all that was launched was a new app.
INQ Mobile has been named all along as the likely maker of any Facebook-branded partner, and it's not difficult to understand why. After all, back in 2008 the company's debut phone – the INQ1, which was only launched on the Three network – was openly described as “the Facebook phone” thanks to its heavy integration with the social network and other similar services such as Twitter.
Fast forward two years and not a lot has changed. INQ is still making Facebook-friendly phones, and everyone still thinks Facebook is going to put its name on one.
Here's the description from the Cloud Touch's listing on the Bluetooth SIG:
INQ Cloud Touch an Android smartphone built to make messaging faster and smarter. It’s designed around the way people naturally communicate and has Facebook built into its core. The homescreen features multiple entry points to different Facebook functions, while a dynamic widget displays a feed of status updates, albums, videos and photos.
So, the bottom line – will the INQ Cloud Touch come with deeper Facebook integration than we've seen on just about any other phone so far? Probably. Will it feature the Facebook name anywhere on the outside? In a word, no.