According to TechCrunch, Facebook is working on what they call “Project Spartan,” a codename for the social network’s secretive plans to create their own “App Store” on Apple devices. Facebook’s underlying goal behind this project is to build an HTML5 front end for all of Facebook’s existing apps to work on any Apple device. By using this new platform, Facebook will effectively bypass the necessity to use Adobe Flash–which currently powers Facebook’s desktop apps—to run their apps on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Facebook will run this mobile platform, which is allegedly “on the verge of launching,” through Apple’s mobile Safari browser. This is a rather sneaky, but completely understandable move for the social networking giant, because they’ll be able to avoid Apple’s tight App Store restrictions and exercise virtually complete control over their own app platform. Over eighty developers at Facebook are currently working on porting apps to this platform; noteworthy apps include the Huffington Post and games part of the Zynga network, like FarmVille.
Could this have anything to do with Facebook getting “snubbed” by Apple’s partnership with Twitter in iOS 5? While Facebook’s ulterior motive is create a distribution system for games and apps that will compete with Apple’s native App Store, they are also helping Apple by bringing Flash gaming to iOS devices. Facebook said they had “nothing to share” when asked to comment on the matter. We’ll have more on this story as it develops.