Facebook buys Israeli mobile apps pioneer Snaptu

By Ben Parr (Mashable) – Facebook has acquired Israeli startup Snaptu, a creator of simple mobile applications for feature phones, for an estimated $70 million.

Snaptu’s technology brings Web service such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to almost any phone through a series of applications it has designed. The company’s Java-based apps replicate many of the features of smartphone apps, but make them accessible to the millions of people who do not own a smartphone.

In fact, Facebook tapped Snaptu earlier this year to create its feature phone app, which provides an almost smartphone-like experience that includes contact syncing and a homescreen that will be familiar to users of the social network’s iPhone and Android applications.

The deal, which is expected to close in the next few weeks, was first reported in several Israeli publications. Snaptu was founded in 2007 as Mobilca and has raised funding from Sequioa Capital and Carmel Ventures.