Facebook has proven to be immensely popular on smart phones: it’s the most downloaded application of all time on the iPhone and probably holds the record on Android as well. But the user experience for so-called feature phones, which still make up the vast majority of cell phone usage worldwide, hasn’t been as rich — users generally have relied on Facebook’s lightweight m.facebook.com site, which gets the job done, but doesn’t really have an ‘app’ feel. Today, that’s changing.
Facebook has just announced the launch of a new application for feature phones that was developed in conjunction with Snaptu. According to Facebook’s announcement, the app will work across 2,500 device models from the likes of Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and LG. The application will include a home screen that looks similar to the one seen on the iPhone and Android, and Facebook notes that it also includes contact sync support and faster scrolling through status updates and photos.
If you’re on a supported feature phone, you can download the application right here. To help introduce the new app to users (and get them hooked), Facebook has partnered with 14 mobile carriers worldwide to offer free data access to the application for 90 days. This is probably going to lead to a significant jump in mobile usage for these feature phone users, especially if carriers help Facebook get the word out.
Facebook has another mobile initiative called Facebook Zero that delivers a super-lightweight version of the site to users on certain international carriers, free of charge.
Update: I just spoke with Snaptu CEO Ran Makavy and Henri Moissinac, Director of Facebook Mobile, who shared some additional details.
Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 weeks, half of the schools in the Boston area began demanding a Facebook network. Zuckerberg immediately recruited his friends Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes, and Eduardo Saverin to help build Facebook, and within four months, Facebook added 30 more college networks. The original...
Snaptu (formerly Moblica) is both a product and a companyâ€“the goal of both is to significantly improve the way the world uses the mobile web. Specifically, our goal is to help millions of mobile users access the web easily and quicklyâ€”regardless of the mobile phone theyâ€™re using. For mobile consumers our Snaptu application delivers a fast, fun and effective user experience for popular mobile Internet applications on virtually every mobile phone. For online service providers, media...