The maker of the soon to be released Facebook phone.

INQ, a fully owned subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa, was founded in 2008 by Frank Meehan, who was previously General Manager of 3G Handsets and Applications for Hutchison Whampoa. INQ is backed by Li Ka-shing who is Chairman of Hutchison Whampoa and is also an investor in Facebook and Spotify. Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of spending an hour with Frank Meehan, CEO of INQ, to discuss the first Facebook branded phone.

In addition to getting a lesson on China (e.g. Chinese tech companies are built to scale, U.S. companies are largely built to flip), thoughtful insight in to the social ecosystem (Frank also sits on the Board of Spotify among others), I got a personal preview of the phone, which is set to debut in the first week of April in the UK with Carphone.

A few things are important to note:

- Hutchinson’s major shareholder is also a shareholder in Facebook, so the phone had significant input from Facebook.

- INQ is a software company, so the company is well positioned to continually iterate the phone.

- The phone operates on the Android platform.

- The phone is incredibly sleek, but it’s the functionality that impresses the most. To those whose lives are centered around Facebook and their friends, I believe that the phone will be extremely popular. It’s simply optimized for the experience of interacting over Facebook. The phone learns who your closest friends are, and optimizes the experience to provide that content in a very compelling (iPad-like) format.