Facebook Launches Mobile Website for All Phones

Facebook is releasing a major upgrade to its mobile interface, unifying its mobile websites into one interface.

The social network currently has two primary mobile websites: touch.facebook.com, designed for high-end smartphones with touchscreens, and m.facebook.com, suited for feature phones with a touch interface.

Facebook says having to maintain multiple mobile websites has stifled its ability to innovate and forced the company to build new features for multiple code bases.

Starting today, Facebook will be unifying its mobile presence on m.facebook.com. “There will no longer be a difference between m.facebook.com and touch.facebook.com,” Facebook’s Lee Byron said in an official announcement. “We’ll automatically serve you the best version of the site for your device.”

Facebook also announced that 250 million people — around half its user base — are actively using Facebook mobile on a monthly basis.

Erick Tseng, Facebook’s mobile chief, says this change should not only provide a more consistent user interface across mobile devices, but it will make it easier for Facebook to push out new features — since all of its mobile websites now share the same code base.

Users may see different changes to the mobile interface, depending on what device they use to access Facebook. Some mobile UIs will appear relatively unchanged, while others may look and feel significantly different. The new framework is smart enough to know when to deliver a touchscreen experience complete with CSS3 and HTML5, while customizing itself for feature phones, devices without keyboards, and mobile OSes with major bugs.

The new website is made possible through a new UI framework that uses XHP (a PHP extension that incorporates XML), Javelin (Facebook’s lightweight Javascript framework) and WURFL (an open source mobile device database).

Most site redirecting mobile devices to their mobile sites may be good for mobile phone users. Though I don’t want to be forced to redirect to mobile sites when I’m using my iPad.

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