Facebook working on Project Spartan, an HTML5 app store for iOS devices?

TechCrunch has uncovered that Facebook is looking to launch an HTML5 based app store under the name of Project Spartan. The app store will offer games and news apps that run inside Safari, or as Web Clips on the home screen. Over 80 outside developers are currently working with Facebook on apps for the platform.

As of right now, there are believed to be 80 or so outside developers working with Facebook on Project Spartan. These teams are working on apps for the platform that range from games to news-reading apps. Some of the names should be familiar: Zynga and Huffington Post for example. The goal is to have these apps ready to roll in the next few weeks for a formal unveiling shortly thereafter.

This comes hot on the heels of yesterday’s news that Facebook would soon be releasing a photo sharing application for iOS devices.

Currently most Facebook apps on the web are based around Flash; this new project could purely be aimed at making them available to the huge iOS market. Obviously Facebook would like to make some money from the arrangement and this appears to be the focus. Facebook would become the distribution channel in this case and not the App Store.

What do you think? Would you be happy to pay for apps from Facebook that would only be usable in the mobile Safari browser? Let us know in the comments!



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UK editor at iMore, mobile technology lover and air conditioning design engineer.

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Facebook working on Project Spartan, an HTML5 app store for iOS devices?


My guess is because there aren't that many good ones out there. The technology is there, but not many developers have taken advantage of it yet.

They've said that they see HTML5 as the open development iOS platform. Essentially, they've said that this is the sort of thing that they support, even if it slightly undermines their own App Store.

There would have to be incredible value in the apps for me to trust Facebook with my credit card information, AND they would have to be things you could not get easily in the App Store. Somehow I find it hard to believe.

may not be for people like you or me to be honest. but there are million of people who actually buy thing on facebook, so people who have already given their credit card detail and are buying on facebook will have no problem using this. even if only 1 in 100 people use it, how many people are on facebook 500+ million. that still means alot of people will be using lol even if its 1 in 500 its still alot. hopefully you see what am saying.

I coudn't disagree more. Friendly bugs the hell out of me. It mostly pulls from the mobile version of Facebook. You're better off going to facebook.com in Safari, which actually isn't that bad, but a fully-functional native app would be better.

I never experienced any bugs in Friendly. Then again people seem to think "oh no! this has a bug! I'm never suing this again" and few years later they still think it has a bug.
Close minded people drive me nuts

I think this is a great idea. When the iPhone was released in 2007 and Steve Jobs said the web was the development platform, he was (rightfully) criticized. Of course, we all know now that he was just biding time until the App Store was ready, but there was some legitimacy in advocating some HTML5 development for iOS, and I believe there still is.
Frankly, I think there are a lot of services that are better suited to run as HTML5 native web apps than native Cocoa apps. And since HTML5 allows for local storage, when done right they can often look and feel like native Cocoa apps without the restrictions and limitations of the App Store. So I hope this really helps spawn some cool web apps, and I think it might.

I'm not gonna pay for it. FB really should stay in it's lane. FB is the KING of social media right now and I understand trying to expand your product set, but trying to nip at the heels of the App Store is ridiculous. Ask Android Market. Ask Blackberry App World. Ask whatever you call the WebOS store. They have their own OS and can't touch the App Store. You think you're going to get people to go to your store on an APPLE DEVICE?!? Get real.

In what way? There arenstill so many things that flash handles that html5 simply can't touch, and won't for a long time. HTML5 (as a buzzword, not the spec) will fill in for simple video situations, but not for any major content video. Simple interaction is done well in JS nowadays too, but real interactive multimedia still is flash's playground, and no one else can hold a candle to it yet.

Not that I am seasoned developer, but the 1 main drawback I see in HTML5 app vs. Native apps is HTML5 apps require an "always on" Internet connection to be used where native apps can run independent of an Internet connection.
Just my take!

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