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80,259 News Articles

Facebook Launches Mobile App Platform

The social networking giant has extended its successful apps platform to work with the iOS and web app versions of its site.

Facebook games and apps -- love 'em or hate 'em, they make developers a lot of money thanks to the staggeringly huge potential audience they have. Now, mobile app developers can also take advantage of that huge 350 million-strong audience thanks to the social network's introduction of game notifications, news feed interaction and bookmarks for its mobile experience -- both in the iOS apps and via the mobile web version. This means the previously somewhat limited mobile experience just got a lot closer in functionality to the full desktop incarnation of Facebook.

Interestingly, Facebook is not pressuring developers into producing HTML5 web apps that play nicely with the iOS web browser -- which would therefore be able to run within the Facebook app itself, which has a built-in browser. Instead, the company is allowing those who have developed native apps which have Facebook support, such as PopCap's Bejeweled Blitz, to send users to the iTunes store to download the app if they do not have it, or simply to launch the app if it is already installed. This is a good thing, because although HTML5 makes some exciting things possible, it still lags far behind in performance terms on the mobile web.

Another key development is that Facebook has begun supporting its Facebook Credits payment system for mobile HTML5 web apps. Native iOS apps, however, must still use Apple's payment system as per the App Store agreements that publishers and developers sign up to.

Some examples of HTML5 apps which work with Facebook's new system can be found (visit on your phone for best results) and further information on the new launch can be found here. The new Facebook iOS app, which includes a native iPad version for the first time -- better late than never -- is now available from the App Store. Updates to the Android version of Facebook will follow soon, though no date has been given yet.

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