A couple of months ago Facebook announced at the GigaOM Mobilize conference in San Francisco that they were devoted to HTML 5 for mobile. They finished the same speech with a hint to the future, " you will think of Facebook as a mobile company within 12 to 18 months".
Mobile is Facebooks biggest growth market when looking at audience share and active users. How do these mobile users contribute to the Facebook bottom line?
So how could they turn this around? They could follow the rumour mills and release a Facebook phone, but this is a huge jump from their current business and expertise? Instead they could kick start their mobile adventure by building an app market for HTML 5, Facebook enabled apps!
Given the direction of HTML5 and WebGL a Facebook mobile app market could work very well. Many native apps today are HTML5 apps placed in a native window. The world of HTML5 mobile app frameworks is currently the focus of silicon valley M&A with Motorola recently snapping up RhoMobile.
The experience to the Facebook user could be to search for mobile cross device apps that run in the Facebook ecosystem, but are built using HTML5. The market is accustomed to paying for mobile apps, Facebook could offer payment via FB Credits. This would give Facebook mobile revenue! They already have 320m mobile users which is bigger than either Android or Apple individually. If they can deliver the right experience and high quality in the future we may well look at Facebook as the mobile app market?
Ever since sitting in the audience at Mobilize this concept has been in my mind but with no real evidence. Recently Facebook acquired Strobe, a small silicon valley start up building out powerful developer tools to build desktop and mobile apps.
In addition the latest Facebook mobile app has undergone a major overhaul. A big change is the navigation which includes an App sub section.