Mark Zuckerberg confirms native Android application, says HTML5 was a mistake

Live at Techcrunch Disrupt, Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that the company would be developing a native Facebook application for Android, and that the company regretted choosing HTML5 as their technology for mobile devices.

Mark, surprisingly candidly said that "The biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML5 instead of native. We burnt two years" and carried on to say that "that's why we chose to switch to native for Android and iOS two months ago." He reiterated that HTML5 was Facebook's biggest ever mistake.

He went on to say that "the first half year has been a little bit slow on product, but for the next six months I expect a lot of really cool stuff" which sounds like Facebook is finally improving on the basic applications they have, and pointed out that the company isn't planning on building a phone, but instead plans on building "deeper, better experiences" on existing platforms that are available.

Obviously, there aren't any more details on the native version of Facebook for Android, but we're sure that thousands of users are relieved to hear it's coming. Last month, Facebook forced their employees to switch to Android phones so that they would understand how terrible it is to use the application.

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the support for HTML 5 need to be improved. many handset still not yet ready supporting HTML 5. we need a way to make it ready, especially for old gadget

HTML5 is really good but using the HTML5 with a native app just makes it better. Facebook would have to make the site HTML5 sometime. Better soon then later.

ACTIONpack said,
HTML5 is really good but using the HTML5 with a native app just makes it better. Facebook would have to make the site HTML5 sometime. Better soon then later.
Wrong. HTML5 with a native shell app (which is exactly what Facebook for Android is) doesn't take advantage of the platform properly. This is what Zuckerberg is saying and is the reason why iOS is now native.

The site is already using HTML5 elements (main website and mobile site/webapp).

jasonon said,
he's talking about html5 for mobile?

Yes, in order to make things quickly and as cross platform as possible many companies are making their mobile apps just OS native shells that call out to a common HTML5 application. Facebook does this and he's saying it was a mistake and they should have just written full native apps for each platform. That's a simplified explination of course but that's basically it.
He's NOT saying HTML5 is bad for actual websites.

The Facebook for Android app is horrid right now. I'll boot up my laptop or desktop to go on facebook half the time. It's not worth the hassle of trying to use the phone version.

And if you're on a 3G connection then just forget it. I can't do ANYTHING with the app over 3G. This is very good news that they're going to make a native app.

Jimmy422 said,
This is very good news that they're going to make a native app.

I'm not too sure about that: if they couldn't build a HTML5 app that actually worked there's no guarantee that they'll manage to do that with native code either.

HTML5 might not be the epitome of performance and efficiency, but it should at worst run about as fast/slow as the web page on the browser. Right now it's far more useful (for features, statibility and speed) to browse Facebook using the phone's browser than using the app.

andrewbares said,
Try Microsoft's Facebook app for WP, and then you'll understand what horrid truly means.

Facebook for WP7 is far better than one on iPhone.

Even though they've changed the FB app on iOS to a native one, it still crash regularly, especially when I tried to view link(s) and/or when I tried to view somebody else profile(s). So friggin' annoying!

FarCry3r said,
Even though they've changed the FB app on iOS to a native one, it still crash regularly, especially when I tried to view link(s) and/or when I tried to view somebody else profile(s). So friggin' annoying!

Since it updated I've only had it crash once. The older one would crash at least twice a day.

unabatedshagie said,

Since it updated I've only had it crash once. The older one would crash at least twice a day.


Maybe because I'm on 3GS? That thing run quite slow when I have numbers of apps opened.

nathans77 said,
It would be cool to see a native app, finally.

HTML5 as the biggest mistake? What will they do with their web site?

They mean in the context of using HTML5 for the app - it deserved better coding that took advantage of the platform it was running on better. By using HTML5, they were simply trying to make it easier to develop for multiple platforms (including the webapp) but at the same time this approach means they can't use each platform as it should be used.

In other words HTML5 is fine... for a website.

HTML5 is not the problem. it is Adobe's fault for keeping that dreaded flash around and supporting it. Kill it already and pave the way for HTML5.

soldier1st said,
HTML5 is not the problem. it is Adobe's fault for keeping that dreaded flash around and supporting it. Kill it already and pave the way for HTML5.

Gosh, you're so right you actually crossed the border into being wrong.

funkydude said,

Gosh, you're so right you actually crossed the border into being wrong.

Agreed. What has Flash got to do with HTML5 and Facebook?

Facebook constantly crashes on my SGSIII. This article is similar to when Microsoft admitted that they rushed out Vista, apologizing while stating they will be replacing it with 7 soon.

DanJamesJr said,
Facebook constantly crashes on my SGSIII. This article is similar to when Microsoft admitted that they rushed out Vista, apologizing while stating they will be replacing it with 7 soon.

Hmm that's not good, Microsoft is rushing out Windows Phone 8.... failure coming up according to history.

DanJamesJr said,
Facebook constantly crashes on my SGSIII. This article is similar to when Microsoft admitted that they rushed out Vista, apologizing while stating they will be replacing it with 7 soon.
Except they didn't rush out Vista. 6 year gestation period, anyone? Doesn't sound like rushed to me.

I know this sounds really ridiculous, but ive noticed two interesting things. Firstly, people who are used to programming in strict strong type languages often write terrible js and php because of their weak loose type structure. Secondly, being a Linux geek ive also noticed that Mac users, a large percentage of web developers, are actually terrible with web standards and cross platform testing. I dont know if this in any way related to Facebooks devs, call it a strong suspicion that i would place money on.

Iridium said,
I know this sounds really ridiculous, but ive noticed two interesting things. Firstly, people who are used to programming in strict strong type languages often write terrible js and php because of their weak loose type structure. Secondly, being a Linux geek ive also noticed that Mac users, a large percentage of web developers, are actually terrible with web standards and cross platform testing. I dont know if this in any way related to Facebooks devs, call it a strong suspicion that i would place money on.

Not sure, few ppl that been coding for 20-25 years or more, are still better at PHP then me
But indeed, allot of webdevelopers are those people who prefer Macs because its better for webdevelopment and photoshop (eventho since Vista, photoshop outperforms OSX on Windows with ease) and unlike OSX, Windows has IE, FF, Chrome, Opera... the major browsers.
OSX has no IE, BWAM ur missing 50% (if not more) of your userbase to test on.

Ah well, people like to be shortsighted, let them

The point you make about Windows Vista and 7 is so valid. I read that a number of years ago about how Jobs was ****ed off that Adobe creative products got better benchmarks on the Windows Vista. Im using Mint KDE, with IE in Wine. I might switch back to Windows now, you make a compelling argument.

Fer63 said,
FB is for short-minded people who like to lose time everyday.

I think most people prefer to "lose time" everyday doing something. Like me making this completely useless post in response to you that maybe a handful of people will see.

Fer63 said,
FB is for short-minded people who like to lose time everyday.

By "FB" do you mean Football (Fantasy) or any number of other "time wasters" people do? If you enjoy it, it's not a waste of time.

Fer63 said,
FB is for short-minded people who like to lose time everyday.

You clearly don't understand its many uses and how it makes the world a better place. I suggest you look into it because I don't have time to explain, due to how much information I could give you about how it makes my life and others' lives better, in a variety of ways (not just through its features, but through what people in need can do with its features

There are still lots of older mobile Android devices - including those that have been modded/rooted to run ICS or later. It likely that a lot of folks that run these devices literally NEED a native app due to poor processor per/video performance.

PGHammer said,
There are still lots of older mobile Android devices - including those that have been modded/rooted to run ICS or later. It likely that a lot of folks that run these devices literally NEED a native app due to poor processor per/video performance.

So the answer is not to increase performance of apps, but to simply increase performance of the machines?

That sounds like what the Java book our university professor picked said, "Javax.swing used to be slow, but on most modern machines the performance is up to par with what you would expect." Basically, JFame is still at the same point it used to be, but modern machines are fast enough that it runs the slow UI fast... that's not a good thing lol.

PGHammer said,
There are still lots of older mobile Android devices - including those that have been modded/rooted to run ICS or later. It likely that a lot of folks that run these devices literally NEED a native app due to poor processor per/video performance.

Nice try...... So you might expalin why FB for WP is as bad if not worse?

If there's a lot of really cool stuff coming, I hope that means we can expect some much improved Facebook integration in Windows Phone! A lot needs to be done before I am happy with the Windows Phone Facebook integration. Of course, the integration in Windows Phone 7.5 is even better than that in iOS 6 and Android, but there is much to improve on.

Calum said,
If there's a lot of really cool stuff coming, I hope that means we can expect some much improved Facebook integration in Windows Phone! A lot needs to be done before I am happy with the Windows Phone Facebook integration. Of course, the integration in Windows Phone 7.5 is even better than that in iOS 6 and Android, but there is much to improve on.

Facebook integration is awful.

soldier1st said,

Facebook integration is awful.

Agreed. I'm using m.facebook.com 95% of the time on WP. And Microsoft's Facebook WP app is terribly awful... worst thing I've ever seen. People on Android have no clue how bad a Facebook app can be until they try WP lol.

andrewbares said,

Agreed. I'm using m.facebook.com 95% of the time on WP. And Microsoft's Facebook WP app is terribly awful... worst thing I've ever seen. People on Android have no clue how bad a Facebook app can be until they try WP lol.


I agree. I tend to use m.facebook.com most of the time on Windows Phone. But m.facebook.com on Windows Phone is even worse than it is on iOS and Android, due to Facebook not supporting Internet Explorer with the new version. If you go to iphone.facebook.com on a Windows Phone, the experience is much better (it's what iOS and Android users get when they navigate to m.facebook.com), but it's obviously not optimised for Internet Explorer on Windows Phone.

So not only is the integration awful, and the app awful, the Facebook Mobile website isn't as good on Windows Phone

I really do hope Windows Phone 8 changes it all. I'd like to never have to use the Facebook Mobile website.

Seems like a bit of an overstatement to me. Although the HTML5 app did suck, it was better than nothing. I also doubt that the poor quality of the app hurt their membership rates at all.

While native should beat HTML5 on performance I'm not sure about that "biggest mistake betting on HTML5". Facebook's app on Android sucks because it's poorly coded, not because of HTML5.

Just check Hotot for a HTML5 app that works great.

So yeah, sure, native is better, but it wasn't HTML5 who made your app suck, your coders did.

ichi said,
While native should beat HTML5 on performance I'm not sure about that "biggest mistake betting on HTML5". Facebook's app on Android sucks because it's poorly coded, not because of HTML5.

Just check Hotot for a HTML5 app that works great.

So yeah, sure, native is better, but it wasn't HTML5 who made your app suck, your coders did.


I couldn't have said it better myself.
i dont upgrade Facebook on android as the integration is not welcomed(although we are stuck with it)i could root but i don't have the time to fix it if something don't work.

ichi said,
While native should beat HTML5 on performance I'm not sure about that "biggest mistake betting on HTML5". Facebook's app on Android sucks because it's poorly coded, not because of HTML5.

Just check Hotot for a HTML5 app that works great.

So yeah, sure, native is better, but it wasn't HTML5 who made your app suck, your coders did.

Facebook on Android is actually really good. The latest version is great.

If you want to see an app that is absolute crap, look at Microsoft's Facebook app on Windows Phone.

soldier1st said,

I couldn't have said it better myself.
i dont upgrade Facebook on android as the integration is not welcomed(although we are stuck with it)i could root but i don't have the time to fix it if something don't work.
Rooting takes 2 seconds and doesn't break anything unless you're an idiot. So simply rooting won't cause you to have to 'fix' anything unless you go messing around in areas you shouldn't be or have no knowledge about.

Facebook is for idiots. My internet connection would be faster if facebook would stop using over 200 trackers. I repeat Facebook is for idiots!

SpyCatcher said,
Facebook is for idiots. My internet connection would be faster if facebook would stop using over 200 trackers. I repeat Facebook is for idiots!
Your internet would be faster if you upgrade your plan.

SpyCatcher said,
Facebook is for idiots. My internet connection would be faster if facebook would stop using over 200 trackers. I repeat Facebook is for idiots!

Why not just block Facebook from your internet?

SpyCatcher said,
Facebook is for idiots. My internet connection would be faster if facebook would stop using over 200 trackers. I repeat Facebook is for idiots!

You know about trackers so you should know how to block them. (and whitelist Neowin )

SpyCatcher said,
Facebook is for idiots. My internet connection would be faster if facebook would stop using over 200 trackers. I repeat Facebook is for idiots!

someone has no/few friends...

KCRic said,
Ha! you just got s**t on by the guy above me, bro.

My facebook is 90% real friends I met first in the flesh. The other 10% or so, are people I've known for several years already. Its basically like modern day MSN/ICQ/AIM for most people. Not everyone uses it to add hundreds of people just for the sake of having ppl on their list.

Shadowzz said,

My facebook is 90% real friends I met first in the flesh. The other 10% or so, are people I've known for several years already. Its basically like modern day MSN/ICQ/AIM for most people. Not everyone uses it to add hundreds of people just for the sake of having ppl on their list.

So....... what you are saying is........ you are in .00005% that don't just add people for the sake of having people on their list?

Now, please make it a service platform. And not an ad platform. Most of Facebook's problem is that none of the additional features feels properly integrated. At least not design wise.

Pages now is terrible because of the timeline. Event's just feels like something added with no proper thought. Design the system for the users please, not the advertisers. Also let designers do the job, not coders.

quote: "He reiterated that HTML5 was Facebook's biggest ever mistake."

I would like to guess that going public for the price that they did was the biggest mistake ever.

rippleman said,
quote: "He reiterated that HTML5 was Facebook's biggest ever mistake."

I would like to guess that going public for the price that they did was the biggest mistake ever.

Why? It worked out great for Facebook, it's the people that bought shares that suffered.

rippleman said,
quote: "He reiterated that HTML5 was Facebook's biggest ever mistake."

I would like to guess that going public for the price that they did was the biggest mistake ever.


Undoubtedly it was for the investors they were able to lure in.....

Get rid of that stand alone camera app, and it's all good. I don't want to download an app only have have more than what I asked for.

Nashy said,
Get rid of that stand alone camera app, and it's all good. I don't want to download an app only have have more than what I asked for.

For the last time, there isn't and has never been a standalone Facebook Camera app for Android. A previous build added an icon which linked to the already-existing feature in the app itself - a subsequent build removed the icon but the same feature was left.

testman said,

For the last time, there isn't and has never been a standalone Facebook Camera app for Android. A previous build added an icon which linked to the already-existing feature in the app itself - a subsequent build removed the icon but the same feature was left.

I don't really give a **** if it was standalone or not. It added unwanted **** to my menus.

Nashy said,

I don't really give a **** if it was standalone or not. It added unwanted **** to my menus.


You mad bro?
If if makes you feel any better they bought Instagram so you can consider that a stand alone camera app if you like.

Nashy said,

I don't really give a **** if it was standalone or not. It added unwanted **** to my menus.

Big deal. Simply remove the icon. Why whine about it?

I bet you'd also whine about Google+ and Google Maps, which does exactly the same thing (mutliple icons linking to different features of the same app).

Edited by testman, Sep 12 2012, 8:30am :

testman said,
Big deal. Simply remove the icon. Why whine about it?

I bet you'd also whine about Google+ and Google Maps, which does exactly the same thing (mutliple icons linking to different features of the same app).

They do? Hmm let me check... nope. Google Maps just has an icon for Google Maps, no link to Google +. WTF did you download?

testman said,
Big deal. Simply remove the icon. Why whine about it?

I bet you'd also whine about Google+ and Google Maps, which does exactly the same thing (mutliple icons linking to different features of the same app).

Actually, you're wrong.

I have to download Google apps individually. Facebook came with the camera icon from the download.

One look at the so called "Firefox OS" is enough to see what a crap HTML5-only applications are. It's horrible. There is no replacement to native software. Bring your data remotely, of course, but the shell must be native to have good performance, uniform UI style, etc.

WebOS proved is doable, with good performance and a uniform UI style, but frankly nothing is going to beat well crafted native code.

@Leo said,
One look at the so called "Firefox OS" is enough to see what a crap HTML5-only applications are. It's horrible. There is no replacement to native software. Bring your data remotely, of course, but the shell must be native to have good performance, uniform UI style, etc.
looks like ill opt for ubuntu phOS, sure ill check reviews of firefox os first tho

cybertimber2008 said,
That's what I thought.

Yes. And somehow they managed to split the app into like 140 services/threads which endlessly cause wakelock issues. If you check the BetterBatteryStats App thread, first thing they suggest is to uninstall Facebook since it's code is so poorly designed.

Hopefully going native they do it right this time.

Timan said,
Thought what they meant was facebook.com in the browser only.
No, he didn't mention the website (or webapp if you want to call it that), he mentioned the application specifically.