Facebook has agreed to acquire London based Israeli  startup, Snaptu, that makes apps for feature phones, for an estimated $70 million. Snaptu offers a service that makes social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn easily available on regular,  non-smartphones, that make up more than 80 per cent of handsets sold globally. According to market researcher Gartner, of the 417 million mobile phones sold worldwide in the third quarter of 2010, smartphones accounted for only 19.3 percent of sales, or about 81 million units .

Snaptu recently worked with Facebook to build an app for lower-end cell phones that will be accessible free of data charges in a handful of overseas markets. The company says its app provides a smartphone-like experience to more than 2,500 devices.The deal was announced today on Snaptu’s blog

Earlier this year, we announced the launch of a new Facebook mobile application to give people a great mobile experience on a broad range of feature phones. The Facebook for Feature Phones app currently works on more than 2,500 devices. We soon decided that working as part of the Facebook team offered the best opportunity to keep accelerating the pace of our product development. And joining Facebook means we can make an even bigger impact on the world.

Facebook previously said that mobile is its top priority in 2011. The addition of Snaptu will aid its expansion in developing countries where smartphones are less affordable and the mobile phone is often the user’s computer.

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