Over the past two weeks, Facebook announced several major updates geared towards mobile developers and gamers. The first of these was an update to the social network's Android SDK, adding a host of new features which iOS developers have been enjoying since April. This marked the first update Android's seen on Facebook since December, and will, Facebook hopes, draw more Android developers to its mobile platform; making it easier for the devs to integrate Facebook's services into their application.
The update adds the following features to the SDK:
- Share Dialog: Allows developers to build in-app activity sharing so that users don't have to log into Facebook to share their activities within an application. Essentially, it allows for instant sharing.
- Object API: Makes it easier for developers to integrate Open Graph into Android applications; the Object API enables Android developers to directly create Open Graph objects, instead of forcing them to host Open Graph through web-pages.
- Redesigned Login UI: This one's simple - better load time for Facebook on Android.
- App Events: Enables quicker, easier measurement of mobile ad engagement, in addition to allowing developers to measure user activity within their application.
According to Facebook, only 73% of the top-grossing Android applications integrate with Facebook versus 87% of the top-grossing iOS apps. These changes, it hopes, will help Android finally catch up to iOS, and allow Facebook to tap the positively massive market that still exists - as of April, there are over eight hundred million mobile users. It is expected that this number will only grow larger. Given that Android currently holds nearly 80% of shares in the global smartphone market, it makes sense that Facebook wants to play nice.
After all, if they don't, they risk alienating a great many mobile developers and users.
In addition to the Android update, Facebook also announced a new cross-platform SDK , designed to bring 3D iOS Android, and Unity games to its large player-base. This new, cross-platform SDK will allow developers to integrate Facebook sharing and invite features directly into their games across both mobile devices and the web.
This SDK will also allow developers to implement native dialogs for inviting friends, sending requests, and Facebook sharing. According to Facebook, this will allow more people to find and play Unity games by driving discovery of the Unity plugin. Several games are already using the new SD, including Uberstrike, Shadowgun: Deadzone, and King's Bounty: Legions.