Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Facebook sets sights on the mobile mass market with Snaptu acquisition

Ovum principal analyst Eden Zoller

USA: Snaptu develops applications that make web services available on feature phones, which are the true mass market phone category and therefore exactly where Facebook wants to be.

Feature phones are less highly specified and priced than smartphones like the iPhone and are therefore particularly important for users in emerging markets, where in many countries mobile penetration is greater than fixed. In this context feature phones will dominate consumer access to the Internet and their experience of web services. This is a high growth opportunity and Facebook is making sure it is in a good position to exploit it.

Snaptu developed a Facebook for Feature Phones application earlier this year and it is now available on 2,500 different devices. Facebook must like the results, judging by the $60-$70 million it is widely reported to be paying for the Israeli developer, and clearly sees Snaptu’s technology as a means of extending its reach to a wider base of feature phone users.

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