Facebook Working With Nokia, Palm to Better Mobile App Experience

By February 16, 2009

Palo Alto-based Facebook has been working to improve its usability in the mobile arena by coordinating with such mobile phone manufacturers such as Apple and Research in Motion with its custom applications for both the iPhone and the Blackberry. But since only approximately thirteen percent of users access the site from their cell phones, Facebook is contemplating non-smart phone possibilities and some newer models by Nokia and Palm. The applications available at this time allow users to post updates and send messages to their friends. More collaboration with mobile phone brands could lead to more sophisticated interactions between central handset functions and Facebook functionality. Possibilities include social resources such as Facebook Notes, Links and Video.

There have been talks between Facebook and Nokia about a possible partnership that would integrate main system functions with aspects of the social network. Such an agreement could involve an address book integration feature that shows users of some handset models the Facebook profile picture of a calling contact. Such a feature is already available from the UK carrier Hutchinson 3G's INQ1 handset, which also supports integration with Skype and Windows Live Messenger.

Such mobile phone usability enhancement is key to the growth of Facebook. The site's popularity compared to Myspace, is due to desire to connect to people users already know, Brett Brewer, a co-founder of InterMix Media (former owner of MySpace), said to the Sydney Morning Herald. But more relevant, he warns that in order to sustain itself as the world's most popular social networking site, better mobile functionality would reduce the risk of another startup taking its audience away.

The new Palm Pre will be able to use user calendars to display information, says Bloomberg News. Palm and Nokia are expected to release an announcement at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain this week.

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