Facebook for Android 2.0, now on Google Play, replaces the hybrid native/webview code with an all-native infrastructure, making the app much faster.
It follows Facebook’s iOS update this August that drastically improved speed and user reviews.
TechCrunch says Facebook originally changed its native iOS and Android apps to partly become webviews wrapped around its HTML5 mobile site. This let it push code once to update m.facebook.com, and both apps simultaneously.
But as smartphone penetration and Facebook’s user count increased, stability and speed suffered. So nine months ago Facebook backtracked, rebuilding its mobile apps natively and focused on speed.
Facebook says core features have been improved with native code, including news feed and Timeline. Now, you can comment and like a story more quickly, and photo loading is optimized to be much faster. They also built a new, automatically updated story banner to bubble up the newest stories, no matter where you are in news feed.
Despite Facebook’s decision to “go native”, it doesn’t seem to have had much influence on the attitudes of other developers around the use of HTML5, according to a recent survey.