MediaTek partners with Facebook to power feature phones


TAIPEI — MediaTek, one of Taiwan’s leading integrated circuit designers, has teamed up with Facebook to enhance the functions of feature phones by allowing consumers to gain access to the U.S.-based social network.

In a statement released by MediaTek Tuesday, the IC designer said the partnership will embed Facebook in MediaTek’s mobile platform through MediaTek’s Runtime Environment (MRE) solution, which will allow users of feature phones to access the social network.

The MRE solution, a middle ware technology, is able to upgrade feature phones — which describe mobile phones that are not smart phones and do not have complex operating systems — into Internet-enabled “smart-feature” phones.

“Our new partnership with Facebook further reinforces MediaTek’s focus on providing differentiated services and value for handset brands, giving them the means to offer affordable, compelling and differentiated mobile solutions to consumers in key emerging markets, such as India,” MediaTek Corporate Vice President Chuang Cheng-te said in the statement.

MediaTek, whose cell phone chips account for about 70 percent of its total sales, has been gearing up to penetrate emerging markets. In 2010, the Taiwanese company took a 40 percent share of the cell phone chip market in India.

The company said more than 50 percent of its customers in India are expected to adopt the MRE solution to better connect with their friends on Facebook, and it expected that the value-added function would help MediaTek expand its market share in other emerging markets.

Before the partnership with Facebook, MediaTek agreed in June to a similar cooperation deal with Yahoo in which the MRE solution was modified to enable feature phone uses to access Yahoo content.

In addition, the IC designer has cooperated with handset brands in some emerging markets, including Spice Group and Micromax in India, Cherry Mobile in the Philippines, and Nexian in Indonesia, to roll out Internet enabled models.