MobileBeat: Snaptu wants to make dumbphones smarter with apps

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Snaptu is one of 20 promising startups included in the MobileBeat 2010 Startup Competition, and is in the running for one of two coveted Tesla Awards.

Mobile app startup Snaptu has a simple goal: To bring the rich mobile app experience seen on the iPhone, Android, and other smartphones, to every cellphone — in particular, low-end phones (often referred to as “dumbphones”).

The company has developed an application that runs on any phone that supports Java apps — which at this point adds up to more than 2,000 devices. Once you download and launch the Snaptu app, it opens up a catalog of other applications, which at this point includes Twitter, Facebook, and a news reader.

With smartphones on the rise, lower-end cell phones are still prevalent, and the company’s software makes them even more compelling. Users will still have to contend with smaller screens and slower performance than smartphones, but at least now they can run some basic apps.

Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, Snaptu has recently surpassed 10 million users, and has landed $6 million in funding from Carmel Ventures and Sequoia Capital (which previously contributed an undisclosed amount of funding).

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