At Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2012, Facebook today addressed three challenge areas that make it hard for developers to build on the mobile web: app discovery, browser fragmentation, and payments. The company says it sees more people accessing Facebook on the mobile web than from all of its top native apps combined, so the social networking giant has realized it needs to help you, the developer, build apps for the mobile web.
First, let's talk app discovery. Earlier this month, the company revealed Facebook Platform sends more than 60 million visitors every month to apps and games. That's not bad for 425 million monthly active mobile users, only some of which have smartphones. Facebook has been helping users discover iOS and mobile web apps since October 2011, and today the company has announced it will soon extend this to native Android apps.
Secondly, Facebook announced industry-wide initiatives to address two problems that it cannot fix by itself: mobile browser fragmentation and mobile payments. The company is aiming to make it easier to understand your app's potential reach and to help prioritize which browser capabilities are important to you, as well as make it easier for users worldwide to purchase apps on their device via operator billing.
Facebook today announced it is joining over 30 device manufacturers, carriers, and developers that are accelerating the improvement and standardization of mobile browsers: the W3C Mobile Web Platform Core Community Group. Companies in the group include: Samsung, HTC, Sony Mobile Communications, Nokia, Huawei, ZTE, TCL Communication, AT&T, Verizon, Vodafone, Orange, Telefónica, KDDI, SOFTBANK MOBILE Corp., Qualcomm Innovation Center, Inc., NVIDIA, ST-Ericsson, Intel Corporation, Texas Instruments, Broadcom, Mozilla, Opera, Microsoft, Adobe, Netflix, VEVO, Zynga, @WalmartLabs, Electronic Arts, Sencha, and Bocoup.
Facebook today also released Ringmark, a new mobile browser test suite, and is donating it to the Community Group to build upon. Developed with open web technology company Bocoup, the test suite helps you understand which mobile browsers support the functionality your app needs. Read more about it here: Facebook's mobile browser test suite.
Last but not least, Facebook today revealed it is working with operators around the world to minimize the number of steps needed to complete a transaction in mobile web apps (see the Bango partnership from earlier this month). This will be automatically enabled where carriers support it when you integrate the Pay Dialog into your app. The following operators are working on streamlined billing: AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica, T-Mobile USA, Verizon, Vodafone, KDDI, and SOFTBANK MOBILE Corp.
"We're excited to be working together with you - and all of our partners around the mobile industry - to make the mobile web a strong platform," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "Our hope is that these initiatives - the Open Graph, the Core Mobile Web Platform Community Group at the W3C, and our partnerships with carriers to improve mobile payments - will enable developers all over the world to build mobile experiences that improve the lives of billions of people."
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