Facebook are bring sexy back with the planned launch of a brand new iPhone App to replace one of the most downloaded iPhone apps since it rolled out in 2008, with 84 million active users. Ever since it’s initial release, users of the iPhone Facebook App have been frustrated with its frequent crashes and failure to deliver notifications to the iPhone.
Facebook have delivered numerous updates and improvements to its iPhone over the last three years, but this time they are attempting something new, something different, and hopefully a bit special.
The new Facebook App will not really be an App at all, so I guess we can stop using the capital A, and just call it an app. This time, the app (currently known as Project Spartan) will not be available from the Apple App Store. It will be entirely HTML5 based, which tells us that it will run the iPhone’s built in browser, Safari.
With the release of this app, Facebook will begin to challenge the stranglehold of Apple’s strict App terms by allowing iPhone users to get all the functionality of an App, plus a bit more, without the developers needing to go through the Apple acceptance tests. Other App developers will surely follow suite, just as soon as they see the results and user responses.
While the new Facebook app is not yet official, sources suggest a team of up to 80 developers are working with Facebook to get the most used features working in full, such as Zynga, Huffington Post and of course, Facebook Credits – something currently disallowed by Apple.
One thing that seems strange is that Facebook appear to be fighting Apple for control of functionality, but by focussing on the iPhone App, they are helping Apple with their quest to move flash-based sites to HTML5. Zynga, for example has a huge presence on Facebook, and their games are flash-based. To integrate with the new iPhone Facebook app, Zynga will need to rework their games into HTML5 format.
The release of this app is likely to coincide with the release of iOS5 and the new iPhone, making the change fit in perfectly with the refreshed iPhone experience we are all waiting for.