Facebook for Android Finally Gets Much Needed Speed BoostBy: Josh Wolford - December 13, 2012
After launching Facebook for iOS v.5.0 back in August, the company received praise from users for building a much faster, much more reliable app. We can all admit that pre-version 5.0, Facebook for iOS was a turd. Android users, who had also been complaining about the performance of their Facebook app, collectively asked, “Wait, what about us?”
Now, Android users can rejoice. Facebook has released v.2.0, which they claim “is twice as fast when looking at photos and opening your Timeline and noticeably quicker to launch.”
That’s pretty much the only thing new with the update: speed, speed, and more speed. You can now view photos instantly without leaving the news feed, and Facebook says that the news feed will also benefit from the update.
When Facebook decided they needed to make the iOS app faster – much, much faster, they rebuilt it from the ground up, opting for Objective-C over HTML-5. With the all new Facebook for Android app, the company has taken a similar approach, rebuilding the app from the ground up.
Here’s Facebook’s Android team engineer Frank Qixing Du explaining how they rebuilt the new Android app in pure native code:
Today, we’re releasing a new version of Facebook for Android that’s been rebuilt in native code to improve speed and performance. To support the unique complexity of Facebook stories across devices, we’re moving from a hybrid native/webview to pure native code, allowing us to optimize the Facebook experience for faster loading, new user interfaces, disk cache, and so on.
We rebuilt several of Facebook for Android’s core features in native code, including news feed and Timeline, to create a faster experience whether you’re opening the app, looking at photos, or interacting with friends. Now, you can comment and like a story more quickly, and photo loading is optimized to be much faster. We also built a new, automatically updated story banner to bubble up the newest stories, no matter where you are in news feed.
The app is not yet available in the Google Play Store, but Facebook says that it should be there later today.