Facebook's Zuckerberg says HTML5 app was a mistake
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company is working on a native social networking application for Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android to match its newly revamped app for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS, admitting the company's previous reliance on HTML5-based mobile experiences was a serious tactical error.
Speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, Zuckerberg indicated the native Android app is coming "soon"--pressed for a timetable, he said "It will be ready when it's ready." Zuckerberg added the Android app will leverage much of the same infrastructure developed for Facebook's native iOS app, introduced last month. Facebook for iOS 5.0 touts speeds up to twice as fast as the previous HTML5 edition, as well as faster scrolling and instant access to notifications.
"We've had a bunch of missteps on [mobile]," Zuckerberg admitted. "The biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML5 instead of native... We burnt two years."
After Facebook reported net losses of $157 million in the quarter ending June 30, its first as a public company, executives vowed to right the ship with the introduction of new and improved mobile social networking experiences. "A lot more people have phones than computers," Zuckerberg said Tuesday. "And mobile users are more likely to be daily active users." He added that mobile users are more than twice as likely to use Facebook more than six or seven times per week, with the number of stories consumed by iOS device users doubling in the weeks since Facebook for iOS 5.0 reached the App Store.
Zuckerberg also reiterated that the much-rumored Facebook smartphone is nothing more than a rumor, stating such a product "doesn't move the needle for us" and "wouldn't make sense." Facebook will instead continue pursuing a strategy of mobile ubiquity: "We want to build a system which is as deeply as possible integrated into every major device people want to use," Zuckerberg said.
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