Microsoft launches Facebook for Windows Phone beta app program

One of the big selling points of Windows Phone is its robust integration with social networks, part of the platform's ideology of "putting people first." Despite being able to perform a range of tasks on social networks via the operating system, however, some still want more options in the form of an app.

Today, Microsoft has announced that it's opening a beta program for the Facebook app, which it develops for the Windows Phone platform. The program is "designed to help speed up delivery of new features" in the official app, and the company say it's seeking "sharp-eyed, energetic volunteers" to download and use the beta versions of future releases of the app in order to help make it better.

Microsoft is working on a major redesign of the app, including what it describes as "several much-requested features," such as support for higher-resolution photos, full Facebook Timeline integration and the ability to share posts from the app. In return for gaining early access to the new version of the app, all that's asked is that testers report bugs and general feedback, and submit feature requests via the settings menu within the app.

To prevent the app being downloaded by those who don't want to test beta software, Microsoft isn't making it available through the Windows Phone Store's search feature. Instead, interested individuals can grab the beta app by clicking on this link. The really good news is the beta app won't replace the existing Facebook app for now; users can keep both apps installed alongside each other on their Windows Phones.

The beta follows a statement last month from Nokia CEO Stephen Elop that a better version of the Facebook app was being worked on. Earlier this month, a Nokia representative on the company's Facebook page stated an Instagram app is coming to Windows Phone.

Source and images: Windows Phone Blog | Download link

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Trying to download it I get "Service not available, the store isn;t available at the moment. Please check again shortly. Error code: 805a01f7"

Didn't realise how happy this news would make me. The app is finally matching iOS/Android counterparts. Cheers MS!

JonnyLH said,
Didn't realise how happy this news would make me. The app is finally matching iOS/Android counterparts. Cheers MS!

ITS EXCEEDING! It usually lags on my iPhone 5 when opening up the chat list or menu list, on this app it is fluid as F#(K!!!

chorpeac said,
I love how one app will make people switch phones just like that... Like flipping a coin.

Wait till Instagram arrives. It's ridiculous.

Huh, please use the app first. There's plenty of Modern style within the app, all animations for example.
They kept to the Facebook style, because its Facebook.
The app does NOTHING more, less actually, then the People Hub. But people don't realize the People Hub does Facebook... because it doesn't look like Facebook.

But the app is a Modern Style version of its iOS and Android counterparts.

The problem with the original Facebook app is that Microsoft tried to make an app that is a hybrid of Metro design and Facebook design and the just doesn't work. It's like making a sport car that is also a truck.

Had Microsoft made a Facebook app that is entirely Metro, it would look like the People Hub. It would work fine, but it would look nothing like Facebook.

Microsoft finally gave that up and basically went entirely with Facebook design.

You haven't used the old facebook app? It looks very much alike of the iOS and Android apps...
Glossy rounded buttons, no Modern style animations.

With this beta, the rounded glossy BS, is now flat and square. The animations are Modern style....

Use it first please.

It's nice looking but man it makes my 920 run hot like crazy. It's not like it's Angry Birds sheesh, lol. I hope THAT gets addressed.

I noticed that as well. We definitely need to submit this as a bug or issue. I have a 920 as well and it was heating up like i was playing a game.

WP's baked in facebook functionality is good enough for me already. I have FBs app, but I barely use it, only for the few things that the OS can't do, which isn't much.

Facebook already released their version of the app. This is just better (I assume better anyway) than Facebook's effort.

mnl1121 said,
Facebook already released their version of the app. This is just better (I assume better anyway) than Facebook's effort.
Facebook never released a Facebook app for Windows Phone. The current non-beta version was developed by Microsoft (or a company hired by Microsoft). And this beta version is also developed by/for Microsoft.

One word... AMAZING. Love the swipe to left/right panes now. One thing I'd like to see added is Page management for admins.

For a beta, it's really good. It looks better than the current Facebook app and the layout makes sense (just like the iOS and Android versions). It's about damn time. Once Instagram is released and some features are added to WP8, it'll definitely be something to consider if you don't want an Android or iOS device.

HUGE update. It was about time! Definitely a step to the right direction.

I notice that more and more apps are dropping the "Metro" design and to be honest I am glad. I really like Metro it is a very beautiful design language and very eye candy, but its taking a serious amount of space that causing functionality and usability problems and especially in small screen it becomes a real problem. Major Apps was suffering from this, including Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.

Twitter dropped the design couple of months ago, Facebook today and the upcoming redesigned Foursquare is also dropping it. (just few examples).

Also I noticed this directly from the Windows Phone Blog:

"If, on the other hand, you want to see where we and the Facebook team are headed..."

Hopefully this means that Facebook is now directly involved with the Windows Phone App Development. I will ask my sources to find out.

Agreed. The Metro UI is nice but it shouldn't be fully implemented in apps. For example, the title takes up a lot of space when it shouldn't. I like what Twitter with their WP8 app and it seems like Microsoft is catching up with this new Facebook app.

The problem with the original Facebook app is that Microsoft tried to make an app that is a hybrid of Metro design and Facebook design and the just doesn't work. It's like making a sport car that is also a truck.

Had Microsoft made a Facebook app that is entirely Metro, it would look like the People Hub. It would work fine, but it would look nothing like Facebook.

Microsoft finally gave that up and basically went entirely with Facebook design.

Edited by illegaloperation, Apr 30 2013, 7:34pm :

I definitely agree the Metro/Modern UI shouldn't be implemented in all apps. MyFitnessPal is a good example of this. It uses the standard UI, and it just looks a mess compared to the iOS version.

Have you even tried the app?
Its a Modern version of Facebook. Keeping much of the original style of Facebook. But all the animations are Modern like, the style is flat, iOS and Android, also the old app.. had rounded buttons with shadows and gloss....

It's about time! The current version is very basic and lacks features that the iOS and Android versions have.

EDIT: Is anyone getting an error when trying to download it? I'm wondering if it's limited to the US only.

Edited by Yusuf M., Apr 30 2013, 4:46pm :

Anaron said,
It's about time! The current version is very basic and lacks features that the iOS and Android versions have.

EDIT: Is anyone getting an error when trying to download it? I'm wondering if it's limited to the US only.


running just fine here, uk

Anaron said,
It's about time! The current version is very basic and lacks features that the iOS and Android versions have.

EDIT: Is anyone getting an error when trying to download it? I'm wondering if it's limited to the US only.

Make sure you're connected via WiFi

duddit2 said,

running just fine here, uk

Leopard Seal said,

Make sure you're connected via WiFi

j2006 said,
It's not U.S. only... it's international. You have to get it via the link the article though.
I'm always connected to a WiFi network at home but it works now. It must have been a random marketplace error.

Anaron said,
It's about time! The current version is very basic and lacks features that the iOS and Android versions have.

EDIT: Is anyone getting an error when trying to download it? I'm wondering if it's limited to the US only.

I installed it fine here in Greece. At first the website said I can't get it because it was the US link but I hit the "check your local store" button, or whatever it's named, I can't remember heh. That tossed me over to the Greece website store and it was there, hit install and was good to go.

Anaron said,
EDIT: Is anyone getting an error when trying to download it? I'm wondering if it's limited to the US only.

Working in AUS here

Yeah sure I'll give it a run. I just hope it is easier to get to certain features. I found the task of getting to a friends page tedious. I usually would just go to the people hub, find the person, and swipe once to get to the "What's New" section. Lets see how this app handles it.

This is better than the iOS version. Some nice gestures, very easy to get to my favorites, just a really damn good app. I hope this level of quality makes it to all of their apps soon because this is amazing.

It's about time.

I left the WP8 platform for the 3rd time, I'm hoping by the next time I'm back on there Nokia will have released the 41mp Lumia, and WP8 will be a lot more polished, and have the apps that I needed.

Just tried it now, and it's definitely a big improvement over the current version! It's laid out better and more akin to the iOS version now. Haven't tested the messaging part yet, but hopefully that's improved too. At the very least, I hope they've finally added the seen timestamps.

Anthony Tosie said,
I think "big improvement" is underselling it. This version is amazing.

I don't get it.

What are exactly so bad about the "previous" version apart from chat window sometimes starting from start instead of end?

Just browsed randomly in previous version a bit. Everything is nice and fast...

The previous one felt like an alpha, so this is good news for me. Been trying it out for a couple of minutes and thus far it's both faster and seems to work better for the most common tasks.

While I like 'metro', the Facebook app on iOS/Android was/is vastly superior for consuming and contributing content (IMO) and I'm glad they're taking this approach for WP as well to be honest.

mrp04 said,

Did you expect anything else? WP7 was abandoned by Microsoft and third parties.

The newest WP7.x device came out in November, its not right the treatment its received

mrp04 said,

Did you expect anything else? WP7 was abandoned by Microsoft and third parties.

Yes I did as a matter of fact. I just got my WP7.8 update less than 3 months ago and now it's "abandoned by Microsoft and OEMs"... if that were the case why the hell would I ever buy another Windows phone device?

Obry said,

Yes I did as a matter of fact. I just got my WP7.8 update less than 3 months ago and now it's "abandoned by Microsoft and OEMs"... if that were the case why the hell would I ever buy another Windows phone device?

I like how in the same sentence you say you just got an update you also say the platform is abandoned. Do you see the disconnect there?

Obry said,

Yes I did as a matter of fact. I just got my WP7.8 update less than 3 months ago and now it's "abandoned by Microsoft and OEMs"... if that were the case why the hell would I ever buy another Windows phone device?

Don't worry about it. The facebook app feels very much like a ios/android port, without the wrap around effect and integration we come to expect from Windows Phone apps on the 7x genre. It probably isn't something that Microsoft wants to keep around, let alone the old 'expired' hardware.

Obry said,

Yes I did as a matter of fact. I just got my WP7.8 update less than 3 months ago and now it's "abandoned by Microsoft and OEMs"... if that were the case why the hell would I ever buy another Windows phone device?

MS has a long history of dropping "out dated" mobile operating systems as far back as Windows Mobile 2003. When MS announced that WP7 would not be supported on Windows Mobile 6 devices, the outcry made MS make a lot of steep promises (now, broken promises) on how they wouldn't do that again (because somehow WP7 was designed for updates) and they also made (again, broken promises) regarding update cycles being controlled by them and not OEMs or service providers (like Apple has done with iOS). Nothing new here. I wouldn't recommend you buy another Windows Phone with the horrible support MS has given you. I wouldn't. MS has shown the type of spine they have when it comes to supporting old devices and it is limp.

ModernMech said,

I like how in the same sentence you say you just got an update you also say the platform is abandoned. Do you see the disconnect there?

He got a late and already obsolete update. The update he got does not support this. This only supports WP8. The only disconnect I see is in your inability to comprehend that not everyone can afford buying the latest and greatest hardware on a 4-6 months schedule. It is not unreasonable to expect new software updates to be supported on not even 1 year old hardware. MS is obviously failing pretty hard here. Customers have a right to be upset over this.

ModernMech said,

I like how in the same sentence you say you just got an update you also say the platform is abandoned. Do you see the disconnect there?


Not really: he received wp7.8 three months ago which means that its OEM or carrier released it then. As for developing for the platform it was clear that it was going to be abandoned and move forward. Like it or not WP8 seems to be more successful than its predecessor (wp7) therefore people will develop for the former; some apps will have compatibility with the latter but this is it.

Shadrack said,

MS has a long history of dropping "out dated" mobile operating systems as far back as Windows Mobile 2003. When MS announced that WP7 would not be supported on Windows Mobile 6 devices, the outcry made MS make a lot of steep promises (now, broken promises) on how they wouldn't do that again (because somehow WP7 was designed for updates) and they also made (again, broken promises) regarding update cycles being controlled by them and not OEMs or service providers (like Apple has done with iOS). Nothing new here. I wouldn't recommend you buy another Windows Phone with the horrible support MS has given you. I wouldn't. MS has shown the type of spine they have when it comes to supporting old devices and it is limp.


If your FUD story would've been true, then why is Nokia going to release a WP7 device huh?
The support isn't dropped, they did drop WM6.5, but hey, WM6 has been around for what, over a decade. CE is ancient, MS wanted to drop it the moment NT took over the consumer market. They kept it going for a decade, long enough no?
No WP7, from the moment it was available. Had a deal that OEMs could stay 1 update behind. And they are sticking to that.

Better then your nice Apple, who wont support devices older then 2,5-3 years Microsoft supports them hell of a lot longer. Apple also is in a very different market position then MS is, MS only provides the software, Apple provides the phone and software.

MS supports which handsets longer than 3 years? Looks to me like they are topping off at around 2 years from the looks of how the first gen Windows Phone 7 got treated. Lucky early adopters... Good thing people tend to replace their phones every 2 years. I try to get at least 3 years out of mine.

In the mobile space, MS doesn't have a very solid support history IMO. Pointing out Apple isn't a very compelling argument when even the iPhone 3GS (June 2009) received the 6.1.3 update in March of this year, the same time it was released for the iPhone 5 .

Shadowzz said,

If your FUD story would've been true, then why is Nokia going to release a WP7 device huh?
The support isn't dropped, they did drop WM6.5, but hey, WM6 has been around for what, over a decade. CE is ancient, MS wanted to drop it the moment NT took over the consumer market. They kept it going for a decade, long enough no?
.

I am afraid that you are confused: my Motorola MPX 200 did not have WM6.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_mobile

Obry said,

Yes I did as a matter of fact. I just got my WP7.8 update less than 3 months ago and now it's "abandoned by Microsoft and OEMs"... if that were the case why the hell would I ever buy another Windows phone device?

First I doubt that, second if you did why the hell wouldn't you get a WP8 device, most are just as cheap and being on a tech site would know full well of the advantages. The APIs available for WP8 are simply not in WP7, just like most Android devices never make it past 2.3.. We cannot have devs such as myself having to hinder functionality to support older and less capable phones with a less capable OS.

Shadowzz said,

If your FUD story would've been true, then why is Nokia going to release a WP7 device huh?
The support isn't dropped, they did drop WM6.5, but hey, WM6 has been around for what, over a decade. CE is ancient, MS wanted to drop it the moment NT took over the consumer market. They kept it going for a decade, long enough no?
No WP7, from the moment it was available. Had a deal that OEMs could stay 1 update behind. And they are sticking to that.

Better then your nice Apple, who wont support devices older then 2,5-3 years Microsoft supports them hell of a lot longer. Apple also is in a very different market position then MS is, MS only provides the software, Apple provides the phone and software.

It's not FUD. There are a TON of apps that are now WP8 only. WP7 is basically dead. The WP7.8 update was finalized a LONG time ago, it just took a long time to get delivered to that phone. And all it did was add a new tile size and Bing photos for your lock screen.

No new major app is going to be released on WP7 because then it'll need to be re-written for WP8 and later versions or if it needs to implement any of the new APIs. If any more new phones come out with WP7 then they'll be EXTREMELY low end. But with the Lumia 520 costing $150 I don't see any reason to release a WP7 phone anymore.

Like it's been said, WP7 is dead. I don't see why people have a hard time realizing this. They really screwed people who bought the first generation Lumias especially the Lumia 900 which was killed just a few months after release. I knew better than to buy a first generation Lumia and instead bought a used first generation WP7 phone a few months before the Lumia 900 came out. It was really cheap and ran pretty much as well as any second gen WP. I sold it after I bought my Lumia 920 and only lost a few bucks on it.