According to new Facebook Head of Mobile Products, Erick Tseng, Facebook is set to move beyond its mobile application strategy as it plans to become a stand-alone mobile platform, which developers can distribute mobile apps with.
“Where we’re going from here is a platform strategy. We’re going away from a one-off app strategy, said Tseng, at VentureBeat’s MobileBeat conference.
What he means is that Facebook will soon allow mobile app developers to plug into Facebook’s APIs the same way web developers currently can.
Although he declined to comment on whether Facebook had been in discussions with app store operators like Apple or Google, he mentioned that part of a mobile platform strategy could include social features for app discovery and distribution.
“Inevitably, app stores will become more social. As we get more apps, that’s going to be great. But the average user isn’t going to go through thousands of apps on their phone,” Tseng said.
Facebook offers more than 550,000 applications and supports 1m developers. Their aim is to offer something similar on mobile (most third-party Facebook apps are not currently available on mobile).
In May 2010, it launched Facebook 0, a text only version of the social network aimed at mobile users in developing markets with limited access to mobile data and lower-end phones. Facebook has deals with with 66 mobile operators in 56 developing countries to provide the service for free.
Tseng said that they’re using Facebook as a way to study how consumers use data services in these newer markets. “We think this will lead to more growth for Facebook, and more data consumption worldwide,” he said.
He also said the company wasn’t in any hurry to add advertisements to its mobile apps.