Facebook hopes to offer better mobile experience with Snaptu buy

Facebook confirmed on Monday that it is buying Snaptu a startup that specialises in software that connects any type of mobile phone to leading online social networks and other sites.

The London-based Snaptu was founded in 2007 and has offices in Tel Aviv and Silicon Valley.

According to the startup its goal is to provide “useful and innovative services to the 95 percent of mobile users that don’t have access to advanced smart phones.” Something it hopes to do more of with the aid of Facebook.

The sale to the social network giant, which is rumoured to be somewhere between US$60-million and US$70-million, came after “the launch of a new Facebook mobile application to give people a great mobile experience on a broad range of feature phones. The Facebook for Feature Phones app currently works on more than 2 500 devices,” Snaptu said in a recent blog post.

“We soon decided that working as part of the Facebook team offered the best opportunity to keep accelerating the pace of our product development. And joining Facebook means we can make an even bigger impact on the world.”

Facebook also remarked that, “as part of our goal to offer people around the world the opportunity to connect and share on mobile devices, we’re excited to confirm that we recently signed an agreement to acquire Snaptu.”

Stating further that, “as part of Facebook, Snaptu’s team and technology will enable us to deliver an even better mobile experience on feature phones more quickly.”

As of May 2010, Snaptu is said to have been downloaded 4-million times. Snaptu’s popularity is partially derived from its ability to connect users with even the most basic phone to the mobile web.

As a platform, Snaptu allows content providers and application developers to write an application once and then make it available across the mobile web and accessible from almost every mobile phone on the market.

“We’ll be working hard to offer a richer and more advanced Facebook app on virtually every mobile phone,” Snaptu said.

The deal was expected to close in a few weeks.



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