INQ Cloud Q combines touch and Qwerty on an Android phone

The INQ Cloud Q is a social butterfly's dream phone -- cheap, powerful and sporting a full Qwerty keyboard and some innovative Facebook widgets.

Flora Graham
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The INQ Cloud Q combines a 2.6-inch touchscreen with a full Qwerty keyboard for a typey-touchey Android experience. This budget smart phone isn't going to win any beauty pageants, but it packs some fun Facebook and Spotify features into a playful, practical package.

We saw an early version of the Cloud Q's software, but we're familiar with its features from its touchscreen sibling, the INQ Cloud Touch. They include a bushel of Facebook widgets to pack out your home screen with your mates' status updates and photos. There's also a sliding shortcut bar with links to Facebook features such as Chat and Places.

The Cloud Q also sports an innovative Spotify music player. If you have a Spotify subscription, you can use it to stream all-you-can-eat music from the service. But even if you don't pay for it, you can use Spotify to play your own music library, and sync it wirelessly with your home computer. 

We're also keen to test INQ's inventive approach to Wi-Fi. In an effort to save your battery and your data allowance, the Cloud Q records the location of your saved Wi-Fi hotspots, based on its GPS readings.

When you're away from home, work or school, the phone switches off its Wi-Fi antenna automatically, to save power. But when you wander back into Wi-Fi range, or into the range of any of the hotspots stored in INQ's database, it turns the antenna back on again and connects immediately. That saves your 3G data allowance for later.

But all this is just the icing on the Android cake. With Android 2.2 Froyo on board, the Cloud Q has a smorgasboard of features built in. These include a great Web browser that supports Flash, and tonnes of handy apps from Google, including Maps and Gmail, with plenty more available from the Android Market. 

We're expecting to shell out a mere £20 per month for a free Cloud Q when it arrives on various networks in April. In the meantime, you can eyeball its keys by clicking the gallery above. 

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The keyboard isn't as ergonomically rounded as a BlackBerry's, but we still found it easy to type on.
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The Cloud Q's keys are backlit so they're easy to find in a dark cinema, although texting at the movies makes you a bad person.
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Because of its rounded case, the Cloud Q isn't the slimmest phone around, but it's easy to get to grips with.
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A dedicated media button on the side launches the Spotify player.
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The Cloud Q has a 5-megapixel camera on the back, and it's packed with sharing features to get your photos on the Infobahn.

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