Israeli Startup Brings Facebook to Low-spec Mobiles

By Idan Seri January 23, 2011 Comments

Facebook has rolled out a new application targeting lower-spec feature phones [a low-end mobile phone that has less computing ability than a smartphone]. The app was developed in conjunction with the Israeli-based Snaptu.

The Facebook for Feature Phones app works on more than 2,500 devices from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG and other manufacturers, Facebook’s announcement says. While smartphones have captured the attention of the media, four feature phones are sold globally for every one smartphone.

Mobile phones have proved to be a huge boon for Facebook—the Facebook app on iPhone is reported to be the phone’s most popular app, but support for feature phones has mainly relied on stripped down mobile sitse offering limited services.

According to a spokesman for Snaptu speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Europe, the Facebook App is a specially developed version of the existing Snaptu platform. The two companies had worked together for “months, not years” to build the application. Snaptu’s software currently runs on 27 million mobile phones globally and provides a smartphone-like experience.

“Snaptu runs on any phone,” he said. “Its very hard to provide that kind of experience on a feature phone. It has to be very light, both in the size of the app and in the data. It is not just a question of hiring a couple of Java programmers and pulling something together.” It was this experience, he said, that attracted Facebook to them.

Snaptu is a V.C.-backed start-up founded in 2007 with offices in Tel Aviv, London, Silicon Valley and Melbourne.

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Photo by Johan Larsson

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