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Rumor: What is Facebook's Project Spartan?

Facebook likely has a lot of secret projects in the works but the social networking service is now rumored to be working on a project that, if the reports are true, could present a challenge to Apple's app store business on Apple's own devices. TechCrunch is reporting via unnamed sources that the company is working on something code named "Project Spartan". The project is supposed to be based on HTML 5 with the company aiming to have it be used on the mobile version of Apple's Safari web browser.

The report claims that over 80 developers are at work making apps that will run on the HTML 5-based Project Spartan. Facebook game maker Zynga is among those developers, according to the TechCrunch story. It claims that when the project launched users will be able to go to the mobile web page version of Facebook and see ways to download apps from that site. The story says, "Clicking on one of the apps loads it (from whatever server it’s on depending on the app-maker), and immediately a Facebook wrapper is brought in to surround the app. This wrapper will give the app some basic Facebook functionality, as well as the ability to use key Facebook elements — like Credits."

The story claims that the point of Project Spartan is to get people to download apps using Facebook rather than via Apple's own app store. It claims that work on Project Spartan has been going on for a couple of months and, "The goal is to have these apps ready to roll in the next few weeks for a formal unveiling shortly thereafter." Naturally Facebook has not yet commented on this story.

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