Facebook-phone and app maker Inq quietly shuts up shop

Inq, a company that had a shot at Facebook phones, has closed down.

Inq, the UK-based company behind early Facebook smartphones which failed to take off, has shut up shop.

"Inq has done some exciting and innovative things over the past few years, but we'll be closing our doors on 31st January 2014," the company said in a short note on its website.

The company also made apps. Material, its content discovery app and would-be rival to Flipboard, served its final edition on January 28. Meanwhile, Inq's SO.HO social media widget won't be gettng any further updates.

As noted by Android Police, both apps have disappeared from Google Play, leaving only an update app for its phones.

Inq launched two Facebook-focused Android smartphones in 2011, the Cloud Touch and Cloud Q, which brought Facebook apps and features to the fore of the interface.

Inq's devices emerged following rumours that 
Facebook would be making its own phone had been put to rest. Some of the features of the Cloud Touch were four Facebook-related buttons on the homescreen, Facebook friends integrated with contacts, and a prominently featured real-time News Feed of Facebook activity.

Inq, a subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa, killed off its hardware initiative fairly quickly to focus on apps instead, reportedly because it didn't have the scale to compete with other smartphone makers. According to Fierce Mobile, Inq claimed to have sold 1.5 million of its phones before the range was retired in 2012.

Despite Material attracting some positive reviews, it launched in early 2013 to a crowded market, drawing comparisons between established news apps, such as Flipboard, Pulse and others. It would have faced competition from erstwhile partner Facebook, which just launched its own 'Flipboard killer', Paper .

Inq was founded in 2008 and according to Crunchbase had 40 staff in the UK and Italy.

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