Facebook targets feature phone app market

20 JAN 2011

Facebook has launched an app for non-smartphone devices, a move that will grow its mobile customer base way beyond its existing 200 million users. ‘Facebook for Feature Phones’ has been co-developed by Snaptu and allows feature phone users to more easily access some of Facebook’s more popular features, like the homescreen, contact synchronisation and fast scrolling of photos and friend updates.

“We want people to have a great mobile experience no matter what type of phone they carry,” noted a company blog. “Smartphones have offered better features for sharing with friends but aren’t used by most people around the world.” The new app works on more than 2,500 devices from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG and other manufacturers. The following operators are supporting it from launch (yesterday): Dialog (Sri Lanka), Life (Ukraine), Play (Poland), StarHub (Singapore), STC (Saudi Arabia), Three (Hong Kong), Tunisiana (Tunisia), Viva (Dominican Republic), Vodafone (Romania). These operators are offering free data access for the app for the first 90 days. Operators launching soon include Mobilicity (Canada), Reliance (India), Telcel (Mexico) and TIM (Brazil). 

Facebook already ranks as one of the most popular applications in ‘smartphone’ stores from the likes of Apple, RIM and Android. The company’s plan to extend its app offering to the feature phone market mirrors earlier efforts to ‘simplify’ its web-browser based service for phones with limited Internet connectivity. However, that offering, Facebook Lite, closed in April 2010 after only a few months of service.


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