Facebook Enriches More Mobile Phones With Snaptu

Facebook today unveiled expanded capabilities for 2,500 different models of feature phones, meaning the leaner mobile devices that don't fit the definition of smartphones.

Today, the largest social network unveiled Facebook for Feature Phones through a partnership with Snaptu, extending to simpler devices functionality previously available only to smartphones.

The new application works on 2,500 different models of devices from the likes of Nokia, Sony, Ericsson, LG — and, well, you name it. Worldwide, cellulars that don’t meet the definition of smartphones are more prevalent than the fancier gizmos. The leaner mobile units go by the name of “feature phones,” which makes sense when you think of the fact that the phone is the more central feature.

The new application for these devices promises better navigation of the home screen, synchronized contacts and faster scrolling through news feeds and photos. This may seem like no big deal if you’ve already got a smartphone, but for feature phone users this is Facebook finally coming through on its promise to reach all mobile devices.

And the app is being promoted as free of any data charges from cellular carriers for a 90 days; this offer involves 14 different mobile operators, although the trial period begins the day the carrier begins offering the service, not when the user downloads the application, according to conversations that Snaptu Chief Executive Officer Ran Makavy and Facebook’s Director of Mobile Henri Moissinac had with TechCrunch.

Nine mobile carriers have the freebie going starting today, and another five are coming soon, according to the Facebook blog. Additional mobile providers in more countries will begin offering the service over the coming months. You can download the application from Snaptu right here, on a page that looks even more streamlined than the 0.facebook.com site.

Below, we’ve excerpted the list of which mobile carriers have the free trial already and those that will follow soon. Now pardon any appearance of U.S.-centrism, but we happen to live in San Francisco and would love to try out the new application; alas, the nearest available ones are in Canada and Mexico, and neither of them is live today. We wonder whether the lag in North American availability has has to do with technological issues or business matters. Or perhaps the timing reflects where the largest numbers of feature phone users are.

Launching today:

  • Dialog (Sri Lanka)
  • Life (Ukraine)
  • Play (Poland)
  • StarHub (Singapore)
  • STC (Saudi Arabia)
  • Three (Hong Kong)
  • Tunisiana (Tunisia)
  • Viva (Dominican Republic)
  • Vodafone (Romania)

Launching soon:

  • Mobilicity (Canada)
  • Reliance (India)
  • Telcel (Mexico)
  • TIM (Brazil)
  • Vivacom (Bulgaria)

Readers, have you or someone you know downloaded Facebook for Feature Phones? What do you think of the application?