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Here come the Androids: Facebook employees encouraged to make the switch

There is a reason the Facebook app for Android is terrible: most of the company’s employees use an iPhone. Until recently, the company had focused its efforts on improving its iPhone and iPad apps because there are more testers available, more resources and mindshare devoted to Apple’s platform. This can likely be said of many dev houses in Silicon Valley and the surrounding area; iOS has been the preferred development platform for years.

But bigger companies like Facebook are pushing their employees to make the switch to Android. Not only is the time right — Android has nearly 70% market share in the United States — the quality of the platform, both from an end user and developer perspective, has increased dramatically. But because the majority of Android users still run Gingerbread, and they likely won’t change for some time, the company can’t take advantage of many hardware-accelerated development tools needed to create a native app. The Android app has floundered as a hybrid HTML5/native app for months, periodically adding features to the camera or chat portions but rendering the main timeline in a web view.

This issue is not unique to Facebook. Despite its huge market presence, most app developers choose to cater to iOS version before Android. While we’re at a point where we can count on an Android version to be released, it often comes weeks or months after the iPhone or iPad.

Facebook, by asking its engineers to “dogfood” its Android app by switching to the platform, may be the first of many companies seeking to change the perspective of Android as an also-ran OS for developers. Some dev houses I’ve spoken to see Android as a necessary evil, and prefer to develop for iOS. This runs counter to the sheer numbers of devices sold, but it also speaks to the financial incentive of building an app for Apple’s platform.

Over the coming months, as Android 4.0+ devices broach the majority of overall share, we can hope to see more Holo-based Android apps with excellent performance and great feature sets. Now if only Google could ensure developers make enough money to continue building great paid Android apps, we’d be set.

Source: TechCrunch

  • max

    It’s the obvious choice. Android > Apple x 10000

    • Rio

      You realize why they are feeding android to their employees right?

      They have to many bugs and want their employees to help them with debugging. Read

    • STEPDOWNRIO

      Hey RIO, WEREN’T YOU SUPPOSE TO STEP DOWN? Not holding onto your words eh. Typical.

    • bobblehead

      Shouldnt be iOS and Android? Why do they compare a phone to an operating system?

  • b

    so many brilliant android devices out there, its a wonder it took this long

  • DavidW

    This is good to hear. I removed Facebook completely from my HTC One X because of how slow and frustrating it was to use.

    • Hilman

      Agreed, its awful. I use the mobile FB page instead, amazing a company of that size and number of users on Android can put out such a sluggish app.

  • Bravos

    RIP iToys

  • Alex

    Buy Android, we need to know why our apps crash so much.

    They’re smarter than that.

    • HERECUMSALEX INYOURFACE!

      Here cums Alex and his Isheep comments. Look at the chart, it’s inevitable. Get over it and your isheep mentality.

  • Alex

    Here come the Fandroids.. sounds about right.

  • Bravos

    I must have spent years of my life waiting for the iPhone to finish syncing over the USB cable.

    It takes longer than it should, and what needs to be transferred should be done over WiFi as the default

  • Sgt.Romanov

    StarWars – Attack of the DROIDS :)

  • Bobb

    Is it just me, or do you sort of feel sad for people with iPhones these days? I feel like they are stuck in 2008…

  • D

    Facebooks is for faaags

    • Squint

      You sir, are rude.

  • ActivesiN

    That’s good news, the Facebook app currently is so slow…. Hopefully a lot of them switch to android and fix this issue

  • J.Ro

    Facebook is trying to save face in front of the investors. They dont really care about which os is better, its just that android has (or had) the highest market share and the app is so terrible people completely delete it off their phones.

    I personally deleted it myself because it was so slow and now i dont use facebook at all, i figure if i’m paying all this money for a cell plan, friends and family can contact me directly.

  • m82a1

    Not sure how good the iOS version of facebook is but for android, a lot complain. Maybe this will be a good thing for for the Android Facebook app…

  • skazzers

    BB10 FB is better than all versions combined!

  • Sean

    Old news read about this days ago.

  • John

    Lol did you Fandroids not even READ the post???? They aren’t changing because the devices are better, they are changing because their app sucks so much they need to force their employees to use it so they’ll actually fix it!!

    Crappy apps, standard issue for Android.

    • Slappy

      How do you make Facebook good?

  • Amos

    An additional motivation could well relate to the rumours of Facebook working on their own phone. Perhaps they, like Amazon, have decided on Android as a base.

  • Phox

    @john they’re not changing because it’s better (Although it is) but hey need to satisfy the majority before the people that pay more that get less ;)

    • John

      @ Phox – I appreciate the good banter…you know, rather than the ignorant vitriol that usually gets blasted back and forth!

  • shaggyskunk

    I wouldn’t be surprised that the real reason that fb is going in favor of android, i because apple dictates everything on their os, android is certainly more open.
    At the end of the day fb sux, no matter which os they are supporting. g+ is far better and isn’t so desperate as to have to try and appeal to the less than teenager group..
    fb’s next “big” move is probably going to be trying to attract the child beauty pageant freaks.

  • GENERAL WONG

    there’s a reason why they prefer IPhone to Droids.

  • MDRam

    One of the few things that webOS did very well was facebook integration and the native FB app…These were part of the OS since 2009. I’m surprised it’s not like this for Android..

  • SC

    I thought the native facebook app for android was in its final stages so where is it now?

  • deltatux

    Good now I hope they realize how broken Facebook for Android is and we seriously need a tablet capable version. It’s really sad to use the phone version blown up to tablet size on my ASUS Transformer Pad Prime…

  • haxor99

    This is more proof how out of touch Facebook is with the tech world. What kind of developers do they have that only have iphones? They should all have at least 1 Android. Pathetic.

  • Rolonoa

    @ Wong Apple maps is the reason why you chose iPhone :)

  • Vengefulspirit99

    booblehead you are really stupid aren’t you? iphone is the only phone that uses iOS. derp

  • Anonymous

    Should be switching to BlackBerry 10, no one wants a platform which is horrendously fragmented and impossible to support beyond a couple devices

    • Bray

      Yes, because ZERO phones getting updates is soooo much better than none.

    • Bray

      SOME**

  • MA

    What a lot of you are also not appreciating is that the reason android apps mostly suck compared to iOS apps is because developing android apps (and ensuring they work perfectly on the massive variety of OS versions, tweaked custom roms, etc) is awful.

    I was pretty devoted to the idea of Android until one of the apps I developed got tens of thousands of users and they started running into problems I couldn’t reproduce on any of my devices or emulators and fixes for one set of devices (eg, tablets running 3.0) would break certain large phones running 4.0+, etc.

    The experience drove me straight into the Apple camp.

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