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Facebook snaps up Snaptu to poke every phone in the world

Facebook has snapped up Java-based browser Snaptu as the next step to take over the world of mobile phones.

Facebook has snapped up Snaptu. The Web-browsing app for mobile phones has been bought by the social-networking behemoth, highlighting Facebook's plans to take over the world of mobile phones -- all mobile phones.

Snaptu is a Java-based browser that presents Web services and social networks as apps. It offers smart phone-style simplicity and a clear layout for phones that don't have such advanced browsing experiences -- we reckon it's an essential app for more basic Nokia phones, for example.

Phones that aren't Web-browsing smart phones, but offer some extras such as an MP3 player, are known as feature phones.

Facebook began working with Snaptu on a feature-phone app as partners, and has now decided to bring the app team aboard the good ship Zuckerberg. The Big Book of Face is reported to have paid £43m for the London-based Israeli company, which started in 2007.

This year, Facebook has also bought mobile-advertising company Rel8tion, recruitment service Pursuit and messaging app Beluga.

Last year, a flurry of rumours suggested Facebook was planning its own phone, just as Google came up with the Nexus One and Nexus S. The social network denies a Facephone is in the works, but it is working closely with phone companies to put Facebook at the core of the phone's software.

Although there isn't a Faceblower as such, Facebook is finding its way into hardware with the HTC ChaCha and Salsa, two Android phones with built-in Facebook buttons. As Facebook continues to spread its tentacles into the mobile world, having a cheaper or less advanced phone won't stop you from updating, liking and poking wherever you are.