Frank Meehan, CEO INQ
Influence: Frank Meehan saw the potential for creating a web application-specific phone when he was working at Hutchinson Whampoa. After the success of that company’s Skype-focused phone, he convinced Hutch management to create INQ,a separate company. He did so because he foresaw that the demand for social networking on mobile phones would increase. The result was an affordable Facebook-specific handset, one that marries social networking with a basic device that works intuitively — and doesn’t carry the price tag of a smartphone. Such devices help bring the web to the masses in a way that the $199 dollar iPhone 3G S may never do, which means that millions can take advantage of carriers’ mobile broadband networks without even realizing it, while carriers reap the revenue from data plans. Coming next: a Twitter phone.