Facebook is embracing the reality that not everyone is on a smartphone.
Consumers using standard mobile phones can now download the social network's Facebook for Every Phone app. According to the company, users will be able to see their News Feed, check for messages in their Inbox, and view photos. Users can also upload images and find friends from their contacts list.
Much of Facebook's growth can be attributed to mobile devices. The social network's co-founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, said last week that the site now has 750 million active users. A whopping 250 million active users access the social network from their mobile platforms, according to Facebook's site, and those folks have proven to be "twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users."
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Although Facebook already offers smartphone applications for iOS and Android, among other platforms, its decision to embrace feature phones is a smart one, considering the sheer number of people who still aren't using a smartphone. According to a study released earlier this week by Pew Research Center, 83 percent of U.S. adults have a mobile phone, but only 42 percent of them have a smartphone. Just 35 percent of all American adults have a smartphone.
For Facebook, a key limitation of feature phones is that most consumers don't typically pay for data on those platforms. And the social network's app requires data to function. Facebook acknowledged that reality in its blog post announcing the new app, and said that it has partnered with a host of carriers around the world to offer users free data for 90 days to address that problem.
Surprisingly, Facebook did not include any U.S.-based carriers in its list of companies providing free data. The social network did not immediately respond to request for comment on whether or not the free-data offer is being extended to folks in the U.S.
According to Facebook, its app is available on more than 2,500 mobile phones. People interested in using the app can surf to the company's mobile page, scroll to the bottom, and click the download link. It's also available in app stores GetJar, Appia, and Mobile Weaver.