Sunday, July 24, 2011
Israeli tech behind new Facebook app
Facebook's launch this week of its new 'Facebook for Every Phone' app is based on software developed by the Israeli start-up Snaptu, which the social media giant acquired in March.
The new application is aimed at simple mobile phones that can download Java apps but are not smartphones. The app includes a lightweight News Feed, an Inbox for Facebook Messages, and a way to upload and share photos directly from a phone.
"Today, we're launching the new Facebook for Every Phone app, which offers a fast and comprehensive Facebook experience on over 2,500 different phones," the company said in a statement.
Israeli media outlets raised the question as to why it has taken Facebook so long to launch its newest application, citing that Snaptu's technology also targeted regular mobiles phones.
Facebook said it would offer the new app free-of-charge for the first 90 days, thereby hoping to get mobile phone users hooked on the product.
Reports indicate that there are more than 250 million mobiles users across the globe.
Facebook picks up Snaptu in titanic deal
Facebook has acquired the Israeli mobile app maker Snaptu in a deal said to be valued somewhere between $60 and $70 million.
Snaptu is a free mobile application platform that runs on almost every type of Internet-enabled mobile phones. In other words, Snaptu aims its products at mobile users who still don't have smartphones, tablets or other advanced mobile devices. And according to a CNN report, that embraces the majority of mobile users.
One of the company's latest projects has been working with Facebook and other partners to launch slimmed-down mobile applications of their respective sites. According to Snaptu, its lower-end Facebook app works across 2,500 different mobile devices worldwide.
"Our goal when we founded Snaptu in 2007 was to provide useful and innovative services to the 95 percent of mobile users that don't have access to advanced smart phones," writes Snaptu on the company's blog.
Facebook officials say the deal with Snaptu is expected to close within a few weeks. Writes Snaptu: "We'll have more updates on Snaptu soon, and we'll be working hard to offer a richer and more advanced Facebook app on virtually every mobile phone. During this transition period, we expect Snaptu will continue to operate as it does today."
Snaptu's investors include Sequoia Capital and Carmel Ventures. The company has offices in Silicon Valley, London, and Tel Aviv.
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Snaptu is both a product and a company–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 quickly—regardless of the mobile phone they’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 companies and content owners we provide a large and rapidly growing global channel that requires little setup and no financial or technical investment.
Snaptu was founded in 2007 by a group of experts from the IT and mobile communication industries. The company is based in London, with offices in Tel Aviv and Silicon Valley
We will become the leading channel for delivering online services to mobile subscribers. We will achieve this by revolutionizing the creation, deployment and delivery of information services to mobile devices, and enabling users to access a rich world of online services from their mobile devices in an exceptionally simple and powerful way.
We believe that designing engaging mobile Internet solutions is not about making online services smaller. It is all about making them smarter and faster.
Imagine a world without PCs, where the only portal to the Internet is the mobile device in your hand. Now start designing the user experience from scratch, bottom up, to the physical and contextual environment of the mobile user. This is what we do.
Designing excellent online solutions for mobile devices does not require overflowing every screen with as much data as possible, it is about providing the easiest and most intuitive way for users to fulfill their task or get the answer they were looking for. And do so quickly.
Snaptu Mobile App Review (Turn Your Phone Into a Smartphone)
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