Software and security devices company Gemalto has managed to get the social website Facebook to run on a SIM card, which means that even the dumbest of GSM handsets can now access the social networking behemoth.
By combining GSM SIM Toolkit and Class 2 SMS messages (the type sent to handsets where there's no user interaction required) the Gemalto "Facebook for SIM" doesn't require the handset to have a data connection, or even a data plan, to interact with Facebook.
Gemalto, the world leader in digital security, announced Facebook for SIM, which enables anyone to enjoy the service on all handsets, even if without a data connection or data subscription. With this announcement, Gemalto brings Facebook to millions of mobile phone users regardless of their handset type.
"Increasingly people want to be able to stay connected and communicate with their friends on Facebook anytime, anywhere," said Henri Moissinac, Head of Mobile Business, Facebook. "Gemalto has developed a creative solution in Facebook for SIM that enables people without mobile data plans to stay connected to their friends on Facebook in an affordable way."
Gemalto's software development team has embedded the software application into the SIM. This ensures the Facebook application is compatible with 100% of SIM-compliant mobile phones.
The SIM provides mobile subscribers with a simple and convenient way to access to core Facebook features such as friend requests, status updates, wall posts or messages. Interactive Facebook messages pop-up on the phone's screen so people can always share up-to-the-minute posts and events. Users can also automatically search their SIM phonebook for other friends to send them requests.
There is a catch though ... after the initial free trial period, there will be a subscription model in place. No word on pricing yet. Also no word on whether carriers will charge users for the Class 2 SMS messages sent by their handset.
"Facebook for SIM enables operators to leverage two of their main assets: the SMS to communicate with the web application and the SIM for application distribution to the masses," added Philippe Vallée, Executive Vice President, Gemalto. "Over 200 million people already use Facebook on handsets and those are twice as active as non-mobile users . By providing anytime, anywhere availability to the social network, Gemalto delivers on the growing demand for mobile connectivity all over the world."
Without a doubt, it's a clever embedded solution. But how much would someone pay for this service?