Facebook Unifies Mobile Site For 250 Million Users

Two out of every five of Facebook's 600 million users access the site from a handheld device. The company is announcing today a new, unified website for all access by all types of phones.

Facebook has 250 million mobile users, meaning that two out of every five people accessing the social network do it from a handheld device. The company is announcing today a new, unified website for all access by all types of phones.

Facebook announced on its own blog the merging of touch.facebook.com and m.facebook.com into the same site. Behind the scenes, a new framework allows the company’s engineers to program a feature code once and have it work on all devices at the same time, without having to optimize for different platforms.

This appears to be the result of Facebook’s acquisition of Snaptu, which has technology for easier updates to so-called featurephones, meaning cell phones with less capabilities than smartphones. The deal came through barely two months after the social network announced plans to work with the Israeli vendor.

Up until today’s announcement, smartphones accessing Facebook would go to touch.facebook.com, while those using feature phones would go to the simpler-looking m.facebook.com.

Now, as Facebook’s Interactive Information Designer Lee Byron says:

Our new site is powered by a UI framework based on XHP, Javelin, and WURFL, a detailed database mapping user agents to device capabilities. This enables us to very precisely target experiences and features to thousands of different devices… This mobile UI framework allows engineers to focus on building their product and not on supporting device edge cases. Rather than directly writing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, our product engineers write XHP and use these mobile components to build new features…. Now, whenever we launch new features on the mobile site, they’ll be available on any mobile browser, presented in the best possible experience. We’re excited to roll out the new m.facebook.com site to everyone over the next few weeks.

Readers, what do you think about today’s announcement?