For most companies that are scrambling to stay ahead of the explosion in mobile technology, the basic mobile phone is an afterthought to the smartphone or tablet. But when you operate at Facebook’s scale, with 750 million users and growing, every screen can be a potential data point.
Facebook Tuesday introduced a new application–of sorts–for what we’ll call “dumbphones” for lack of a better term. The app is designed to work on more than 2,500 phones and appears to be a Java-based application, although specific details were not provided, and allows Facebook account holders to do the basics, such as update one’s status and read the updates of friends, but it will also allow those with basic phones to upload photos to the service.
Much of the growth potential for Facebook lies with customers and geographies that can’t necessarily afford smartphones and expensive data plans but can afford a basic mobile phone and plan. Facebook said it had partnered with dozens of carriers around the world in countries like India and Indonesia to offer a free 90-day trial period in which those carriers won’t charge for data usage to the Facebook app.