All Things D’s Liz Gannes has an interesting theory about the role Facebook could play in mobile apps.
Her take is that a Facebook HTML5 web app strategy does not provide enough app richness to compete with native apps. Therefore Facebook should integrate its ability to authenicate and connect apps and its users.
Unfortunatley, Facebook has a big problem there: The two biggest mobile platforms (iOS and Android) are not its friends. Apple (iOS) chose Twitter to be it social network glue in iOS 5. Android, announced its own Google+ social network platform yesterday. Moreover, Google and Facebook have been at odds regarding search. That leaves:
– RIM BlackBerry which is fading
– webOS which faded under Palm and is attempting to revive it under HP.
– Microsoft Windows Phone which appears to be on life support although several analysts predict it will be the number two platform by 2015.
Windows Phone already integrates Facebook into its platforms. Microsoft is adding Twiter support in the upcoming Mango update. Microsoft is also, however, an early investor in Facebook and could greatly benefit from improved app discovery and virality.
So, Facebook’s best bets for becoming a social app glue is with the two smallest mobile platform players: HP webOS and Microsoft Windows Phone.