Facebook Looks To Bolster Mobile Apps

The social networking site is offering mobile application developers and device manufacturers a SaaS platform that allows software to be tested on a wide range of handsets.

Marin Perez, Contributor

July 13, 2009

2 Min Read

Facebook is making a stronger push for mobile users, and it is teaming with DeviceAnywhere to ensure that its mobile applications are optimized for the handset that's running it.

DeviceAnywhere offers a SaaS platform that enables application developers and device manufacturers to test software on a wide range of handsets on more than 30 mobile operators across the globe. The iPhone Facebook app is routinely on the App Store's most-downloaded list because it takes advantage of the unique capabilities of the smartphone, and the deal could enable the social network to do something similar with a variety of smartphones and feature phones.

"Although many companies offer mobile sites or applications for their consumers on-the-go, Facebook is taking it a step further by developing multiple applications that are customized to a user's device," said Faraz Syed, CEO of DeviceAnywhere, in a statement. "Not only does this require testing an enormous amount of handsets, but also on carriers and networks on a global scale."

Rival MySpace said nearly 20 million of its users access the site through a cell phone or smartphone, and it was looking at the mobile market as a strong growth avenue that could be monetized with relevant ads. It is unclear how big a role mobile will play under new CEO Owen Van Natta.

Neither Facebook nor MySpace has been able to significantly monetize its mobile users, even though they dominate the space. Additionally, neither company has strong location integration, which potentially opens the door for mobile-first social networks like Loopt, Brightkite, MocoSpace, and others.

Facebook and other social networks can definitely be time wasters, but they also have the potential to be useful tools for enterprise collaboration. InformationWeek wrote a report on this issue, and it can be downloaded here (registration required).

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