Facebook Moves Closer to Becoming a ‘Mobile Company’

Facebook unveils iPad app, new developer tools

Only weeks after Facebook mobile chief Erick Tseng said the social networking giant would soon “become a mobile company,” Facebook unveiled several new features to show that it’s quickly moving in that direction.

In blog posts Monday afternoon, the company not only announced its long-awaited iPad application, but also said it was bringing more of its Facebook Platform capabilities to mobile.

"Today, we are extending Facebook Platform on mobile, bringing all the social channels that have helped apps and games reach hundreds of millions of users on the Web to mobile apps and websites,” wrote Facebook engineer Luke Shepard in a post on the company’s Developer Blog.

Although their final form has yet to take shape, Shephard said the new features will make it easier for developers to reach the 350 million people who access Facebook monthly through mobile devices like the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Half of those mobile users reach Facebook through the Web and half use native apps, Shepard said, adding that Facebook encourages developers to continue reaching Facebook users by building both.

Among the new features are social channels, such as bookmarks, requests, and news feed, which make it easier for users to discover and share third-party apps with friends. The company also said it was extending its payment system Facebook Credits to support mobile Web apps, although Facebook said they are not allowed in iOS apps or mobile Web apps that run within a Facebook iOS app.

Among the companies already running apps with the new features include Gilt Groupe, Huffington Post, EA, Zynga, and Flixter.

In a separate blog post, Facebook engineer Leon Dubinsky touted the features of Facebook’s new iPad app, which features a big photo display, in-app chat, and the capability to watch high-res videos inline as well as record HD video.