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Facebook has already established itself as the most popular application ever on the iPhone, but now it wants to expand mobile usage to people who don’t own fancy smartphones.
Last year, Facebook launched Zero, a mobile website that was stripped down to lower bandwidth usage, and which was free thanks to deals with mobile operators (as long as you didn’t view photos). Today, Facebook announced a new app that supposedly improves the experience with “an easier-to-navigate home screen, contact synchronization, and fast scrolling of photos and friend updates.”
Once again, Facebook has cut deals with operators, in this case so that users can use the app without any data charges for the first 90 days. And if you look at the list of partners (which you can view in Facebook’s blog post), it’s pretty clear that launching the app is really about expanding Facebook’s international presence, since the carriers are located in countries like Singapore, Sri Lanka, and the Dominican Republic.
The app was created with Snaptu, a Sequoia Capital-backed startup that focuses on bringing online experiences to lower-end Java phones.