Facebook today announced the launch of its new Android app, which ditches HTML 5 "webviews" in favor of native code to speed up loading photos, browsing your Timeline, and flipping through your News Feed. If Facebook's native update for iPhone this summer was any indication, Facebook for Android should offer considerable performance increases when it hits the Google Play store later today. "It's twice as fast when looking at photos and opening up your Timeline, and noticeably quicker to launch," Facebook engineer Phillip Fung says.
While Facebook for Android may not look very different, the company took the opportunity to bring over some features recently added to its iOS version, like the "new story" banner which pops up whenever posts load into your News Feed as you're browsing. More importantly, Facebook made some under the hood tune-ups to increase performance, like improving memory efficiency, improving "garbage collection," and switching from Android's stock scrolling engine to a custom engine of its own. "This new release creates a solid foundation for the Facebook for Android app moving forward," engineer Frank Du said. It remains to be seen whether iOS will always come first for Facebook, but the company has certainly noted Android's skyrocketing popularity.