Facebook already has apps for Android, iPhone, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7. Today, they are venturing into the untapped feature phone market with a an official app for feature phones. The app is developed in partnership with Snaptu and it will bring many features available to smartphones to feature phones as well.
According to Facebook, the app will run on more than 2500 models of feature phones from the likes for Nokia, LG, Sony Erricson etc. Till now feature phone users have to do with the m.facebook.com interface. However with the new app, they will get easier-to-navigate home screen, contact synchronization, and fast scrolling of photos and friend updates.
This is a very interesting move by Facebook because the feature phone market is essentially an untapped area. While smartphones tend to be more in the news and are competed for more, worldwide the smartphone users consists of only around 20% of the total mobile users. The rest are on feature phones - and 80% is a huge number.
Moreover in many developing countries (say India), the proliferation of mobile phones outpaces that of broadband internet connection by quite a margin. So, essentially this move will help them reach out to a larger section of the population.
Facebook is providing the app for free and it can be downloaded from m.fb.snaptu.com/f. As of now Facebook has partnered from 14 mobile operators from around the world to provide this service. They are expecting to add more and I am sure most mobile operators will jump at the offer.
The 14 mobile operators are giving free data access for 90 days to anyone using the app. In nine countries the app has already been launched today. In the other five countries (including India), Facebook says the app will be available soon. In India, Reliance will be providing this service. (See the complete list of mobile operators and countries where this service will be available here.)
If you do get the chance to test the app, let us know how you feel about it.