In a bid to make social networking accessible to more people, Facebook has launched ‘Facebook for Every Phone’, a Java-based app which works on less sophisticated feature phones.
Facebook says their new app will offer “a fast and comprehensive Facebook experience” despite the relatively limited processing power of most feature phones, when compared to smart phones.
Facebook for Every Phone includes Facebook’s most popular features, such as inbox functionality, photos and news feed, as well as the ability to ‘find friends’ using contacts stored within the phone.
The app has been designed to be less data-hungry than other Java applications, and more data efficient than general web browsing, enabling customers without comprehensive data plans to save some money on their phone usage.
To promote its launch Facebook is working with carriers worldwide, including Three in the UK, to give users free data access to the Facebook for Every Phone app for 90 days.
The aim, says Facebook, is to make it “much more affordable for people to use when the 90 day period ends.”
Partner carriers outside the UK include Aircel, Airtei and Reliance in India, O2 Telefonica in Germany, Three in Indonesia, Banglalink in Bangladesh, Beeline in Russia, Celcom in Malaysia and Vodafone in Turkey.
If your feature phone is Java-enabled, you can download the Facebook for Every Phone app from m.facebook.com or by entering d.facebook.com/install directly from your mobile browser.
The app is also available from app stores such as GetJar, Appia and Mobile Weaver.
Initial customer feedback on the app’s own Facebook page is mixed, with some users struggling to download it, but there’s no doubt the market is right.
Staunch feature phone fans, and those for whom smart phones are an unaffordable luxury, are pleased to be getting something tailor made.
This is not least because it may be hard to believe, but not everyone has an iPhone.
Data from Kantar World panel ComTech predicts the UK is still around a year away from the tipping point where half of all mobile phone users are smart phone owners.
In America the smart phone fares even worse, with 62 percent opting for less expensive mobiles to stay connected.
With smart phone prices still inaccessible for many people in the Western world, usage in less developed countries is unsurprisingly much lower still.
Another step in Facebook’s plan for world domination.