I’m sure a lot of readers here user Facebook and are probably disappointed by the lack of decent Facebook client for Android. The official app was finally released around a year ago now but it was extremely basic when compared to its iPhone counterpart – updates have been almost non existant since with the only major addition the ability to read inbox messages. A few weeks ago it was reported that Mark Zuckerberg, one of Facebook’s co-founders had installed Facebook for Android – this was the beginning of much speculation and as if by magic they have now released a much improved version of the app!
The first thing you will notice is that there has been a UI overhall – it is now much easier to navigate, has a number of unread notifications displayed at the bottom that when pressed pops up with your notifications, has friends recently added photos showing across the bottom and most important of all it now has buttons for requests and events. Overall this is a massive improvement over the previous version and has finally got the Android app to something that is usable for people who use Facebook a lot.
The features that were in the previous version of the app are much the same except that now pressing the Facebook logo in the top left will take you back to the home page.
In the options menu there is also no great change from the previous version – you can choose which notifications you receive, enable or disable LED notifications and sync contacts. Syncing contacts allows you to have pictures from your Facebook friends profile picture in your contacts and messaging application. This feature works well but unfortunately Facebook won’t let third party apps use these pictures so apps such as ChompSMS will not display the synced contact pictures which is a little disappointing.
Overall this version of the app is much better than previous versions but there’s still some way to go until people will be satisfied. Something that seems crazy is clicking notifications still takes you to the web version of Facebook which really isn’t acceptable and seems to be either overlooked by Facebook or they’re being lazy and not implementing this commonly overlooked problem which many users comment on. The second main problem is that there is no sign of chat implementation – however with a decent amount of third party apps that allow you to chat with Facebook this is less of an issue. There is also still no video implementation which would seem like an obvious feature to include considering the great capture abilities of most Android phones.
Theres still some way to go yet before this app is what we’d all expect but at least some big progress has been made and we can all look forward to this app improving. The most recent updates has made the app 1.5 compatible which is another nice step forward for those on first gen Android handsets.