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Facebook Acquires Feature Phone App Maker Snaptu

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the hut-hut-hut dept.

Facebook 62

Krystalo writes "Facebook has agreed to acquire Snaptu, an Israeli startup that makes Java-based feature phone apps, for an estimated $70 million. The acquisition, for which neither company would reveal financial details, is expected to close within a few weeks. Earlier this year, Facebook worked with the mobile development firm to build a feature phone app that is accessible free of data charges in various overseas markets. The company says the Facebook for Feature Phones app currently works on more than 2,500 devices."

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62 comments

why... (-1, Offtopic)

YoshiDan (1834392) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556008)

Why is the titlebar of this article red?

Re:why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35556022)

It's not... anymore.

But IIRC, it's red before it's posted to the general public.

You as a signed-in user get to see things just before the rest of the anonymous proles.

Niggerdick! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35556084)

Why is the titlebar of this article red?

to make you ask a stupidass noob question

next time read the FAQ you douchebag skin-flute player

Re:Niggerdick! (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#35557298)

next time read the FAQ you douchebag skin-flute player

why? what does it say?

COMMUNIST JEWS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35556190)

COMMUNIST JEWS working with CIA and NSA are going to replace all phone companies.

A hooknose means they are more albino Arab than albino African.

Every company they buy in America is for anti-competition purposes against the remaining companies if they don't already own those as well.

It's why there is no public breathrough in computing performance, so they can step through every version of a processor and all bridges between to reap the most money rather than efficiently improve the world without all the dross in between.

Re:why... (1)

JorDan Clock (664877) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556696)

Because it had no comments.

WTF . . . (-1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556038)

is a feature phone

Re:WTF . . . (0, Flamebait)

MichaelKristopeit425 (2018896) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556058)

let me google that for you [lmgtfy.com] ... moron

slashdot = stagnated

Re:WTF . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35556186)

let me google that for you [lmgtfy.com] ... moron

slashdot = stagnated

i love you

Re:WTF . . . (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556212)

The whole point is you shouldn't *have* to google it, a decent editorial staff would have added that tidbit in. But like you said, this is slashdot, and the staff has stagnated.

Re:WTF . . . (-1, Troll)

MichaelKristopeit425 (2018896) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556250)

but it's perfectly ok to reference "smart phones"?

you're an ignorant hypocrite.

cower in my shadow behind your chosen superiority based pseudonym some more, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:WTF . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35556320)

Says the guy that had to Google a term and acts like this isn't the first time he's ever heard it.

Re:WTF . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35556338)

It's a combination of a sore loser who lives in his mom's basement and an automated bot. Just let it go.

Re:WTF . . . (1)

MichaelKristopeit404 (1978298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556636)

i am michael kristopeit.

you are an ignorant hypocrite. accept it, or let it go... but accept it.

i paid cash for the home at 4513 brittany ct. eau claire, wi 54701. i live there with my wife, children, dogs and numerous firearms. my mom lives elsewhere.

cower in my shadow some more, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:WTF . . . (1)

MichaelKristopeit403 (1978294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556622)

i'm the guy that showed someone else how to do Google a term.

you're an ignorant hypocrite.

cower in my shadow some more, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:WTF . . . (0)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556332)

Obvious troll is obvious.

Re:WTF . . . (0)

MichaelKristopeit400 (1972448) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556494)

ur mum's face is obvious.

you're an ignorant hypocrite.

cower in my shadow behind your chosen superiority based pseudonym some more, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:WTF . . . (0)

YoshiDan (1834392) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556334)

ur mum's face is stagnated

Re:WTF . . . (1)

MichaelKristopeit425 (2018896) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556488)

you're an ignorant hypocrite.

cower in my shadow with your attempts mimicry some more, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:WTF . . . (1)

YoshiDan (1834392) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556502)

I love you Michael Kristopeit bot <3

Re:WTF . . . (3, Informative)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556062)

See here [wikipedia.org] :

Feature phone is a term used to describe a low-end mobile phone that has less computing ability than a smartphone, but more capability than a "dumb phone".

TFA

“Our goal when we founded Snaptu in 2007 was to provide useful and innovative services to the 95 percent of mobile users that don’t have access to advanced smartphones,”

My reaction: just in time. If they have waited for 2-3 more years, Snaptu would have been extinct (due to the lack of "food" in the eco-system).

Re:WTF . . . (4, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556066)

WTF . . .is a feature phone

I didn't know either. Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] has this to say:

Feature phone is a term used to describe a low-end mobile phone that has less computing ability than a smartphone, but more capability than a "dumb phone". The term was originally used to describe mobile phones which had features which weren't available on most other contemporary mobile phones

Less than smartphone (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556070)

Wikipedia says [wikipedia.org] a "feature phone" is a mobile phone less powerful than a smartphone. Some run MIDlets designed for J2ME; others run BREW apps. The advantage of carrying a feature phone is 1. no mandatory data bill and 2. easier to find prepaid carriers in the United States.

Re:Less than smartphone (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556796)

Since when do phones have a mandatory data bill? I mean I was just traveling overseas and for that purpose when I got to the country of interest I bought a SIM card with $15 prepaid voice credit and that's it. My Andriod smart phone didn't seem to think the databill was mandatory. All our providers also seem to offer a voice / txt only service over 3G for people who don't have more than $10/month to spend.

Prepaid smartphones in the United States market (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35557736)

Since when do phones have a mandatory data bill?

Since the majority of U.S. customers decided that they aren't willing to pay $500 for a smartphone. The beginning of the end of this came when Sprint began to offer Android smartphones under its prepaid Virgin Mobile brand in the fourth quarter of 2011.

bought a SIM card

Two out of the three major wireless carriers in the United States use CDMA2000 instead of GSM, and instead of CSIM cards, they program the subscriber identity directly into the phone. That's why one doesn't just see SIM cards for sale in the United States; instead, one sees handsets branded with a carrier's logo, and the vast majority of them are feature phones.

overseas

Oh, that's the difference.

Re:Prepaid smartphones in the United States market (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35558048)

Wow I had no idea the system in the US was that screwed up. I always heard of the split between standards, but never of a subscriber identity programmed into a phone. Is it possible to change providers in the states while keeping your phone?

Re:WTF . . . (1)

netsharc (195805) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556102)

apparently it's a less-than-smartphone... i.e. capable of running J2ME apps (surprisingly, iPhone, Android and WP7 can't) but not 3rd party native apps.

So, what did the middle-manager in Facebook say to convince the heads to buy this company, i.e. what is Facebook's goal? Are they thinking of creating a library/platform for Java mobile apps so they can take advantage of social features? (i.e. annoy your FB-friends with wall posts?). Or is it just a too-much-money syndrome?

On the topic of mobile apps, allow me to shamelessly promote my own iPhone app [apple.com] . (Ugh, I feel dirty... but I want nice things :))

Re:WTF . . . (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35557514)

is a feature phone

I'm optimistic this link will work; if not, its just a google timeline search graph for the phrase "feature phone"

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&tbs=tl%3A1&q=feature+phone&aq=f&aqi=g3g-s1g6&aql=&oq= [google.com]

It shows that phrase technically existed a decade ago, but in the last year or so its usage rate has gone exponential upward.

I had never heard that phrase until the last couple months, now it seems all /. stories involving cellphones must contain the phrase "feature phone" to refer to anything that is not iphone, android, blackberry, or the also-rans. Basically, its a cell phone with a touchscreen instead of a keyboard and its really expensive, thats all.

Re:WTF . . . (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35557764)

now it seems all /. stories involving cellphones must contain the phrase "feature phone" to refer to anything that is not iphone, android, blackberry, or the also-rans.

It's a useful distinction because the monthly cost of service is lower for a feature phone than a smartphone. The vast majority of phones sold for use with the U.S. prepaid carriers are feature phones; prepaid BlackBerry and Android-powered phones weren't available until just a few months ago.

Re:WTF . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35581606)

is a feature phone

a cheap ass phone for losers on facebook.

Facebook phone (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556056)

Remember all the rumors of a "Facebook phone"? Whatever happened to that?

Re:Facebook phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35556096)

Isn't Facebook the only thing WP7 does well?

Re:Facebook phone (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556788)

Much to the delight of all three people who use that OS.

Re:Facebook phone (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35556300)

Remember all the rumors of a "Facebook phone"? Whatever happened to that?

The Facebook phones are HTC Salsa and HTC ChaCha

The what? (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556804)

Never heard of it. Seems the hype was louder than the product announcements.

Silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35556088)

Can't any large corporations today invent their own stuff? It just seems silly that most only seem to innovate by acquiring someone else that is. Oh well, the next year will bring changes.

Re:Silly (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556174)

They can, it's just cheaper to buy somebody that's already put the effort into it, that way the risk is being paid by somebody else.

Re:Silly (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35557628)

It's also easier than dealing with all of the ridiculous software patents (in that at least some of it has already been dealt with).

Re:Silly (1)

Sky Cry (872584) | more than 3 years ago | (#35557672)

No. While the risk is being taken by them, it is you, in the end, who is paying for the risk. It's not about being cheaper or more expensive. It's about the investment being stable and predictable as opposed to risky and unpredictable.

Re:Silly (3, Insightful)

e9th (652576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556570)

One of the few good things about monopolies was that a company like AT&T could afford to fund Bell Labs without having to answer to angry shareholders as to why they were wasting money on foolish things like transistors and UNIX, and on eggheads like Claude Shannon. [wikipedia.org]

2500 devices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35556218)

Are there already 2500 different brands of phone?

Re:2500 devices? (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556290)

Not brands, models. Hell, Nokia alone probably has half that many models. (well, maybe a bit of a stretch... but...)

Facebutts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35556256)

Niggers!

jus wen u herd dat ma face was in da iwebz i got ma ugly black face on your goddamn nigger phone. Rapin your dorters n sistahs in their pockets.

Data fees (1)

fivevoltforest (2012744) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556336)

"accessible free of data charges in various overseas markets" Can anyone clarify for me how this works? Using a web app doesn't incur data fees?!

Re:Data fees (2)

!eopard (981784) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556680)

No idea about other countries, but some Telcos in Australia offer(ed) free Facebook access plus various other 'sites' on your monthly plan - however all the ones I've ever seen supplemented *existing* data plans - doesn't explain how this works though.
I've used Snaptu as a light interface for accessing FB, when the other applications weren't working or just annoying me (looking at you Nokia S^3!)

Re:Data fees (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556724)

I imagine it will be something akin to this [slashdot.org] , works on any GSM phone, data plan or no.

Slashbook or Facedot? (0)

Nyder (754090) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556346)

subject says it all.

Re:Slashbook or Facedot? (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556418)

Ignoring the wedding story from this/yesterday morning, the last Facebook article was on Wednesday. I think you're over-reacting.

who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35556678)

They aren't getting much.

works on more than 2,500 devices. (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556890)

2,500 devices - are there really that many models of smart phone out there? I know there are a lot but not that many. Or do they mean that 2,500 users have this app installed?

Also I wonder how that "accessible free of data charges" is supposed to work. Is that a special contract or so? I have seen phone companies offering pretty cheap data plans with small amount of data, plus unlimited data for Facebook, Twitter and Gmail. Something like that, details I forgot, not interested myself, just interesting that such contracts exist. And then limited to the mobile versions of those sites, like m.facebook.com.

Re:works on more than 2,500 devices. (3, Informative)

Rennt (582550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556936)

They're not talking about smart phones. Feature phones traditionally don't have user-installable apps, but ship with a couple of applications (or "features" if you will) installed by default. Pretty much every single phone released in the last 10 years that isn't a smart phone is a feature phone.

Re:works on more than 2,500 devices. (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#35556988)

Tx, I never heard of that expression before.

Re:works on more than 2,500 devices. (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35560258)

Funnily enough, I think your definition of feature phone is a bit wrong, to say the least. I have a Nokia 3500 Classic, which is old and it is a feature phone - but I can (could) install any app for System 40 that I wanted to. I could even download them to my PC and then use a USB cable to transfer that app to my oldish featurephone.

Re:works on more than 2,500 devices. (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35561628)

Its' a rough definition to be sure, but it is certainly accurate to say that when the term "feature phone" was coined phones were defined as such because of the features that they came with.

You don't seriously think the 3500 is old do you? My first feature phone was a WAP-enabled Siemens cira 1997 - ten years older then then your 3500. USB cables was unheard of. Third party apps just plain didn't exist.

Re:works on more than 2,500 devices. (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35562184)

Yes, I am dead serious when I say the 3500 classic is old - I cannot buy any official accessories for it, I couldn't buy it (the phone itself) a few years at least, it's 4 years since it was released, I cannot buy even an un-official (non-Nokia) replacement case...

It's still going strong, though, and with a 2 GB MicroSD card, it really does all I need. I think my next phone (whenever this gives up its ghost) will be another 3500 classic.

Re:works on more than 2,500 devices. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35560500)

How does this work without using data charges, as the summary says? Does this mean that it works by transmitting information through SMS or something related?

What do you guys think about the future of SMS? I always assume that it will be made obsolete by big data plans --- why send an SMS when everyone can just use their favorite chat program over their wireless connection?

Snaptu (1)

jaq1an (891045) | more than 3 years ago | (#35557146)

This is a great program for the not-so-smart phones like my "Sony Ericsson W610i". It gives easy access to Twitter as well as many other sites. I hope Facebook will still allow us to access Twitter.

Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35557252)

Surely they could have made a java program themselves for less than 50m :S

Isn't $70M a financial detail? (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35557548)

How can they say they won't reveal any financial details when they have already disclosed the purchase price? Or, is that not a financial detail?

Re:Isn't $70M a financial detail? (2)

DMFNR (1986182) | more than 3 years ago | (#35557830)

It says an estimated $70M. I imagine the estimates are probably made by economist type people who have a good handle on what the value of the company is.

Not sure this is news. (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35562066)

We should still be discussing what AT&T just did to the economy by dumping $39 Billion on T-Mobile to remove the only agile competitor from the market. $70M for a few wigets doesn't seem to rate a line in the classifieds.

If this proves cheaper than sending multiple SMS.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35565158)

then this is another step on the way to more data-based communication services. If you are able to have a chat on your phone via this Snaptu/Facebook app, that uses minimal bandwidth as the article claims, then all you have to do it calculate which is cheaper: the SMS plan you are using, or the data charges for communicating with this app.

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