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Forget smartphones: Google’s Eric & Seek co-founder plug OZ app biNu to make dumbos smart.

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Eric Schmidt and friends have just plugged $2m into an Aussie app that gives dumb phones Android and iOS style capabilities.

biNu mobile app platform brings “iPhone-like” experiences to ‘dumb’ feature phones we all loved a few years ago.

The irony is that the Google-made OS, Android, along with Apple’s iPhone virtually destroyed dumb phones like Nokias in developed markets, but this nifty app now give the low end devices the leg up they need to be like an iPhone or Android smartphone.

biNu announced the $2 million funding from Google Chairman and co-founder Eric Schmidt’s TomorrowVentures, earlier today.

Seek co-founder and Australian tech entrepreneur, Paul Bassat, alo has his finger in the biNu deal, as does several other other private investors in Australia and the U.S.

Since launching 18 months ago, the app has 4 million active users globally in emerging markets like India and Latin America, where dumb phones are commonplace.

There’s still big business in being dumb, it seems.

Despite the rapid growth in smarties like the iPhone, lower end smart and feature phones outsell them by about 5-to-1, meaning rapid growth exists, and the Aussie app is growing at a massive 400% per year.

biNu’s technology is run from the cloud and gives “affordable” access to apps and Internet services including news, e-books, Facebook, Twitter and you guessed it, Google.

The app brings over 100 channels to basic mobiles and fills the gap for nations lacking decent cellular networks.

“As publishers, content owners and social companies race into emerging markets looking for growth, mobile devices and mobile networks simply can’t keep up,” said biNu co-founder and CEO Gour Lentell.

The clever app has grown beyond their expectations and there’s been some surprises, too says Lentell.

 

“The big surprise was that our users started requesting ways to interact with each other, which actually created a thriving mobile social community of its own.”

Australian tech entrepreneur Paul Bassat said he is “excited to have become an investor in biNu. It is attacking a massive market, showing extremely strong growth in its subscriber base and its members are very loyal thanks to a rich content experience combined with social capabilities. “

“biNu is making an enormous difference to the lives of people in the developing world by providing them with a rich internet experience,” he added. 

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