For chronic Facebook addicts, help is at hand. INQ Mobile, the handset arm of Hutchison Whampoa, promises to deliver status update messages from the popular social network site right to its phones' home screens.
Jeff Taylor, co-founder and strategy director of the nascent phone maker, said the feature would let INQ phone users communicate more easily with their Facebook friends after the software upgrade, available in coming weeks.
Legions of Facebook members constantly post status updates as a way to connect with large groups of people on the popular online hangout. Now, an INQ phone user will be able to read updates quickly, and can simply click on the update to send a direct message to the Facebook member who posted it.
INQ hopes that if consumers can use their phones to communicate more easily on popular Web sites, they will be more likely to spend on mobile data services, Taylor said in an interview at the CTIA annual wireless showcase in Las Vegas.
The phone is just screaming at you - use me more, he told Reuters on the sidelines of the show.
INQ, which started offering its INQ 1 phone in December, currently sells its product only through Hutchison's 3 wireless service provider arms in the UK, Ireland, Hong Kong and Australia. It hopes services like Facebook updates will help it win supply deals with other operators this year.
We're talking on every continent to tier one and tier two operators, Taylor said adding that INQ is having some really good conversations with the biggest U.S. operators.
(Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)