I clicked on the link explaining the new 3 Facebook phone with some trepidation, expecting it to be the standard load of 2.0 rubbish, but was met with the following quote:
"Communications is what the mobile industry should be about. The industry has forgotten its core roots; to make communication easy. Operators are trying to take over music, take over the camera business. They've totally missed out on what has been the key driver – the Internet. Most packages are voice and text. Yet on the PC, you have email, social networking, VoIP."
I'm not especially inclined to think nice things about people who harp on about social networking and anything with a version number, but this does signal that INQ are exploring an interesting direction which ought to be a natural extension of a personal communications device for the mainstream. If they really can get 3 to buy in with "affordable, transparent pricing" then they may be onto something.
Whilst I'd love to leave this post as a purely positive one, there is the minor problem of what will happen when people actually start using mobile data - something that has been concerning Dean Bubbley recently, quite rightly.
I think the real fun will start when operators find it impossible not to offer affordable flat rate data, and people actually use it - they will be stuck between commercial pressure to cut data tarifs and buckling infrastructure requiring major upgrades (to the backbone as well as a general expensive move to 4G). Throw in increased pressure on the bread and butter voice, SMS and roaming prices just in time for a long deep recession, and you have a rather potent problem brewing. Maybe the time to get out of operator shares...