Facebook’s August 23 unveiling of a native version of its iOS app not only is twice as fast as its HTML version and has some new user-friendly gestures, but it’s also an endorsement of native apps as Facebook pivots to focus more on its mobile presence. This vote of confidence for native over web apps is something mobile-savvy companies from all sectors are keeping a close eye on.
The shift resolves the sluggish speed and operating bugs that plagued Facebook’s web-based app. It is part of the company’s new “focus on digging deep into individual platforms” blogged Facebook’s Jonathan Dann. The initial app is for iPhones, and the company is believed to be working on versions for Android and other mobile platforms.
The Guardian reports that investors have responded to Facebook’s stock slide by pressuring Zuckerberg to increase revenue from the mobile side of Facebook. Zuckerberg reportedly sees more responsive apps as key to that mobile strategy.
Native gives the user what she wants most -- speed, which might be why other companies like Pandora have recently crossed over from web to native mobile offerings. Along with its shift to native apps, it appears Facebook is committing to more mobile innovations – the New York Times reports that the company recently hired 200 engineers to focus on mobile, most of which, presumably, will be native.