Facebook users who want access to social networking service on the road, but do not have smart phones are now implementing their own – in some countries.
On Wednesday, Facebook introduced a mobile application for feature phones, the least expensive, Internet-capable phones to outnumber smart phones in many parts of the world.
Like Facebook applications for the Apple iPhone and other smartphones, the role of the Facebook application for mobile is designed to provide easy navigation, fast scrolling status updates and photos of friends, and sync contacts with your phone. The application was announced in a blog entry on Wednesday to Facebook.
While smart phones are widely used in the U.S. and some European and Asian countries, many mobile Internet users elsewhere are based on feature phones. Last year, Facebook launched the http://0.facebook.com mobile website, a basic site for users on slower networks and less advanced phones. It is designed to work faster using text only. Now Facebook is giving users a dedicated application with more graphic content.
The new application runs on more than 2,500 models of mobile phones from Nokia, Sony Ericsson and other manufacturers, according to Facebook. But it is not immediately available everywhere.
Facebook initially be offered through 14 operators worldwide, with nine of those offered by the application immediately. Operators will be included in Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Poland, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Tunisia, Dominican Republic and Romania. Soon after, companies in Canada, India, Mexico, Brazil and Bulgaria made available.
For the first 90 days after launch, the service providers are not charged for data usage with the new application, Facebook, said.
When Facebook launched its site slimmed-down mobile operators announced 50 partners in 40 countries, offering at least 12 months of free data usage. At that time, said the U.S. was left out of the start-up because Facebook was doing well with multimedia smartphone applications and was looking to provide a deeper experience for users.
Mobile is the biggest engine of growth for Facebook, mobile product manager Eric Tseng said in a conference in July. At that time, the company had 150 million mobile users a total of 500 million members, said.