New Facebook app brings social to 2,500 mobile phones

20 Jan 2011

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In what can be considered an innovative and no doubt magnanimous gesture, social media giant Facebook has developed a new mobile app that can be accessed on more than 2,500 mobile phones worldwide.

The move enables Facebook – which is a hair’s breadth away from reaching 600m users worldwide – to make the social networking site accessible to as many people around the world as possible.

While there are 2bn people online around the world, the mobile device portends to be the universal point through which the remaining people of the world will touch the internet, engage in online banking and much more.

Facebook has developed the app to work on some of the most popular feature phones that aren’t quite as expensive or snazzy as the iPhone or top-range Android devices and in one swoop will bring the mobile internet into the lives of many.

The social networking firm has worked with mobile operators like StarHub in Singapore, Dialog in Sri Lanka, Life in Ukraine, Play in Poland, Tunisiana in Tunisia, Viva in the Dominican Republic and Vodafone in Romania to allow phone users to get the mobile Facebook experience on m.fb.snaptu.com/f.

Operators Mobilicity in Canada, Reliance in India, Telcel in Meico, TIM in Brazil and Vivacom in Bulgaria will launch the application in the coming months.

Automatic for the people

“The Facebook for Feature Phones app works on more than 2,500 devices from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG and other manufacturers, and it was built in close co-operation with Snaptu,” said Facebook program manager Mark Heynen.

“The app provides a better Facebook experience for our most popular features, including an easier-to-navigate homescreen, contact synchronisation, and fast scrolling of photos and friend updates.

“We also wanted to make it available to as many people as possible. Similar to the 0.facebook.com site, we’ve worked with mobile operators from around the world to let you try this without paying for any data charges. The 14 mobile operators listed are offering free data access when using the new Facebook mobile app during the first 90 days after they launch."

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com