Word around the internet is that Facebook is making its employees use Android phones so that they can see just how truly horrendous Facebook for Android is. This is a very welcome step in the right direction for the social network, whose mobile apps have long been the bane of its users’ existence.
For starters, it is slow. So slow in fact that you could probably send a letter to a friend by carrier pigeon and receive a reply, long before the Facebook app has even loaded your notifications. Part of the reason for its slowness is that instead of coding a native application, Facebook opted to make the app little more than a wrapper for their mobile web site. In theory, this allows Facebook to push out updates faster, but as anyone who has actually used the application well knows, there have been few updates since the new design was rolled out six months ago, and certainly none that have improved its performance.
A couple of months ago, the Holo Everywhere blog posted a mock-up of what the Facebook application on Android could look like, and it would be awesome if Facebook did release an update to better fit in with Android’s design guidelines. It would be even more super if they would use the proper API for contact syncing, but at this point I would settle for an application that is actually usable.
It’s definitely nice to see Facebook trying to place a stronger focus on their mobile experience, and since the iOS application has recently received a native-code update, hopefully an update to the Android version won’t be too far behind.