While smartphones are becoming standard in the developed world, feature phones, a.k.a. “dumb” phones, still rule in the developing world. But Australian startup biNu wants to make dumb phones more like smartphones by hosting mobile apps in the cloud and making them accessible via a local Java client. The company claims that “almost any phone” can run its Java client because most of the processing, including graphics rendering, is done by Amazon’s cloud computing service, not the local processor. In addition, the asynchronous wireless protocol makes it possible to use the apps on slow 2G networks.
Mobile development firms can build apps with biNu’s XML schema. The company boasts 4.2 million unique users in Africa, Malaysia, Iran and the U.S.