Building off the success of its online developer platform, Facebook launched a mobile platform for wireless carriers today, according to IDG. Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) is already using it in Germany and the U.K. and plans to roll it out in more countries soon.
However, unlike the online developer platform, the mobile version looks pretty basic — at least for now. In the article, it says the platform gives operators a set of technical specifications that make using the social networking site more easy on the phone. That includes smoothing out login problems and opening up other features, and will allow operators to add settings that will let their subscribers send MMS to their Facebook profiles, said Jeb Stremel, Facebook’s director of mobile. At the moment the mobile site does not have any advertising, so it’s unclear if the operators will make any additional revenue beyond what they generate from data services. It also didn’t address whether access will stay limited to operators, or will be eventually opened up to mobile developers who want to get their applications on to the mobile phone.
Stremel said there were 6 million users of Facebook Mobile, but it’s unclear really what that means. The article vaguely said those users are using “an unsupported mobile version of the Web site that will now get full support.”
In the fall, Facebook launched a Blackberry application in conjunction with T-Mobile USA at CTIA. It provides a fully integrated experience, meaning if you take a picture and go to the list of options on what you can do with that photo, “send to Facebook” will be one of them. The free downloaded application also eliminates a lot of the clutter found on people’s profiles on the PC version to make using the app pretty speedy.