Facebook Inc unveiled a long-awaited application for the iPad, offering a tailored version of the world’s most popular social-networking service for Apple Inc’s best-selling tablet computer.
The iPad app would let users chat with friends and play games on Facebook in full-screen mode, the company said on Tuesday. Users have been clamoring for an iPad-friendly version of Facebook since the device went on sale in April 2010.
“Many of you have been asking about Facebook for iPad,” Leon Dubinsky, a mobile engineer at Palo Alto, California-based Facebook, said in a blog posting. “Today, it’s finally here. With the iPad app, you get the full Facebook experience, right at your fingertips. It’s a fun, colourful way to keep up with friends, share photos, chat and more.”
Facebook, which has more than 800 million users, is stepping up efforts in mobile technology, aiming to take advantage of the shift to smartphones and apps. The company is introducing the iPad app as part of a push to encourage software developers to work with its platform on a range of devices.
New tools that help users find Facebook-connected applications would work with Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch—both inside apps and web browsers. With the features, users can more easily switch to a mobile app, such as a game or shopping service, while using a portable device. They simply click on a link, which might be in the News Feed, to find the software in the App Store or a mobile version that runs in the browser.
“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,” Luke Shepard, a Facebook software development engineer, said. “You can now easily reach the 350 million people who use Facebook every month on a mobile device.”
The company is encouraging developers to create both iOS and web versions of their applications. Another new feature, called authenticated referrals, ensures that all referral traffic is coming from users connected to Facebook.
The company will add more mobile platforms in the future, including one for Google Inc’s Android. Also, Facebook Credits, the social network’s payment service, will be used for mobile web applications.
The iPad has maintained its dominance in the tablet market even amid mounting competition from Android devices and other products. Apple sold 28.7 million iPads as of the end of June, generating $18.4 billion in sales.