By Ed Oswald | Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 10:02 pm
While Facebook has definitely been able to expand its reach through its smartphone apps, there is still a signficant portion–a majority, actually–of mobile phone users who do not own a smartphone, or maybe even want one. The social networking giant seems determined to put itself in front of those consumers as well.
In collaboration with Snaptu, a company that specializes in developing stripped down apps for use on so-called “dumb phones,” Facebook has launched an app which will work on about 2,500 devices from a range of manufacturers including Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and LG. It aims to provide a similar experience to that of its fancier smartphone counterpart.
It appears that the focus (at least initially) is to expand mobile usage of the site into developing markets. Facebook has struck deals with several carriers across Asia, Europe, and the Dominican Republic to offer use of the app for 90 days without any data charges.
Facebook plans to offer the application to other carriers worldwide over the next several months, it says. The offering is much like “Zero,” its free-to-use low bandwidth website that the company launched last year.
One caveat–if you are downloading Snaptu in an attempt to get Facebook, unless you’re on a launch carrier it will not work (whether you pay for the data charges or not). It’s not clear when this restriction is set to be lifted. Snaptu still has its own unofficial app, which according to TechCrunch is similar to the official one.