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Foursquare Is Facebook's Equal on Super-Social INQ Phones

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The "Facebook Phone" cometh! So the media lauded in a not-so-distant past that has since been rewritten in the truth: INQ Mobile, a device maker with a social penchant, worked with Facebook to release INQ Cloud Touch, an Android smartphone with rich Facebook integration. Monday, INQ Mobile and Foursquare announced that they were collaborating on a similar home screen experience for INQ's lineup of Android devices. The mobile marriage will help users better discover and explore nearby places via Foursquare.

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The pending release will offer OS-level Foursquare integration -- just as is the case with Facebook integration on the INQ "Facebook Phone" -- for a deep Foursquare connection that gives users instant access to location-sharing and recommendation features.

"Because it’s built directly into the Android system, you can check in and explore without even firing up the application," Foursquare wrote on the company blog.

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According to INQ's press materials on the to-be-scheduled release, "Users will be able to swipe back and forth between Facebook and Foursquare home screens, depending on what they are doing, what they are looking for and who they want to connect with."

What we have, then, is a lineup of super-socialized INQ handsets that will level the Facebook/Foursquare playing field. Both will compete for user attention on INQ devices' dual home screens. One company may be looking towards one billion users and the other ten million; but in the eyes of the handset maker, the social networks, which battle in the location arena, are equals. Equal except that INQ has chosen Foursquare, not Facebook, to power its phones' location services.

Lest we read too much into INQ's decision, we should recall that the phone maker's devices have limited carrier support and are not yet available in the United States. As such, INQ will do little to bolster Foursquare's rung in the social networking hierarchy for the time being.

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