Mobile

Why is this startup obsessed with bringing Snapchat & Dropbox to feature phones?

feature phones binu

We told you about biNu last fall; it’s trying to bring smartphone apps to feature phones, even ones on spotty networks that can’t handle much data.

Today, the company announces it has brought cloud-based file sharing, walkie-talkie voice features, and even Snapchat-like “ten seconds of glory” self-destructing photo apps to all phones, including feature phones and low-end smartphones.

Oh yes, and the emphasis on the whole world of feature phone users has had positive effects on growth, too: biNu is up by a million members to a total of five million users worldwide.

“The vast majority of biNu’s 5 million active monthly users are based in the emerging world where lower-end phones are still dominant (and will do for some time) and are usually a person’s only connected device,” writes a biNu rep to VentureBeat via email.

“And there is clearly significant growth — and commercial opportunity — in this market.”

The startup’s MyMedia application gives all its users cloud storage and lets them share files via SMS, IM, or email both inside and outside the biNu network.

New social features announced with today’s release include a URL shortener, Flashchat (a Snapchat clone service), and Voicechat, a service for walkie-talkie connectivity and voice messaging.

Here’s a look at a few biNu apps in action on a range of devices:

[vb_gallery id=510360]

“There are billions of people in the world who have never heard of Dropbox or WhatsApp, and it will be years until they have the devices and the networks to use these kinds of services,” said biNu CEO and co-founder Gour Lentell in a statement on the news.

“We decided to build our platform to reach where most people currently are, and will be for some time, rather than start at the top and move down.”

The two-year-old company took a $2 million round of funding in August 2012, the round was led by Googler Eric Schmidt’s TomorrowVentures.

Image credit: James Cridland/Flickr


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