Facebook Makes One Mobile Web App to Rule Them All
Facebook today is launching a new version of its mobile Web site that it says is much simpler and should work with the capabilities of thousands of different phones.
The leading social network has 250 million monthly active mobile users, and the majority of them access the site through the mobile Web, said Erick Tseng, Facebook’s head of mobile.
The new site, at m.facebook.com, replaces an existing site at that address for feature phones and a separate site at touch.facebook.com for smartphones (where development had recently lagged behind other versions). The new version uses an extended implementation of WURFL, a database that helps map the way the site is displayed to the capabilities of each device.
Facebook said it should be able to “delete thousands of lines of old mobile site code” after the release, which is set to roll out to all users over the next couple weeks.
The company has said that in order to be maximally accessible it will favor mobile Web development over native app development. “We are internalizing our own strategies around HTML5 to prove out that this emphasis on the mobile Web can actually work,” Tseng said.
“Yes, there is going to be a day when the majority of folks have something that looks more like an Android,” Tseng said, “but I don’t believe that’s going to happen in the next year, probably not the next two years.”
Tseng was previously lead product manager for Android before he joined Facebook last May.
Please see the disclosure about Facebook in my ethics statement.