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MediaTek Inks Deal To Bring Facebook To Feature Phones; Plans To Add Local Content & Services On MRE

Mobile chipset maker MediaTek has inked a deal with social networking giant, Facebook to embed the latter’s services into MediaTek’s mobile platform solutions, bringing Facebook access to feature phones that are powered by MediaTek’s Runtime Environment (MRE). The terms of the deal were not disclosed. The new Facebook application will be first introduced by S Mobility( Spice) and Micromax on their entry level, mid and high-end smart feature phones, in the Indian market. However, the deal is a global one, covering all MediaTek partners including Cherry Mobile in the Philippines and Nexian in Indonesia.

Embedding Facebook on MediaTek based handsets: Grant Kuo, MediaTek’s Managing Director for India, informed MediaNama that the two handset manufacturers were more aggressive in bringing new features to feature phones copared to others, which was the reason that the comany decided to first roll out the solution on their handsets. He said that the same would be extended to other partners who have integrated MediaTek’s platform in the near future. However, it would be upto the manufacturer to decide if it wants to integrate the feature in a particular handset, since each handset is different in terms of memory resources. Also, there are two versions of the solution with one being a widget based solution for mid and high end handsets, that brings notifications to the user’s home screen via the widget. According to a statement from the company, during the previous year, over 40% of the overall Indian handset market was powered by MediaTek.

Focus on localised services: Kuo also added that the company did intend to bring local services and content to its MRE platform and will leverage its partnership with Indian handset makers to bring Indian content to the platform in the future. MediaTek had previously inked a similar deal with Yahoo India.

Spice To Develop Apps For MRE: S Mobilty* MD, Dilip Modi also announced that the company was in the process for developing app solutions for MediaTek’s MRE platform and that a team is presently working on it. He said that the company supports the development of an app ecosystem surrounding the platform. Note that MediaTek had earlier bought a 10% stake in Spice for $20 million.

Facebook on MRE, Operator Tie-ups & Snaptu: Vaughan Smith VP-Mobile Partnerships & Corporate Develpment, Facebook said that the company is working on a version with much deeper phone integration, for the MRE platform, which is expected to come out next year. On being quizzed about operator tie-ups for free data for Facebook access, he said that the move has helped the company bring more mobile users on board, and that Facebook is in talks with more operators, although he did not reveal any names.

Responding to media queries on Snaptu, he stated that the saw almost twice the number of users coming back to the app compared to Facebook’s own iPhone app, and that new information services might be introduced soon on Snaptu, as existing third party services are being shut down. He also added that more people were buying phones to access Facebook and the company aims to offer access on devices across all segments, despite the fragmented experience.

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*Disclosure: Spice Digital is an advertiser with MediaNama.

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