Facebook Hits 250m Mobile Users and Unifies Mobile Site

Facebook has revealed that it now has 250m mobile users. The announcement comes as the social networking service rolls out a unified mobile website for use across all handset types. 

Previously, the company produced multiple versions of mobile Facebook – one version for basic phones and one for touchscreen smartphones. This led to problems, according to the company – developers were limited to the lowest common denominator for each version, and new features had to be rolled out in both versions. 

Says Lee Byron, a Facebook product designer: “We couldnt use JavaScript and had device specific file size limitations on m.facebook.com. Supporting a wide array of touch phones of varying quality on touch.facebook.com limited our ability to use modern CSS and JavaScript APIs.”

Writing on his blog at Facebook.com, Byron says that the new site will be more flexible. “Every device uses the same framework. This way we can move even faster and build new features just once for every mobile device. It also means that everyone can access the same features, whether writing messages or checking into Places. There will no longer be a difference between m.facebook.com and touch.facebook.com, well automatically serve you the best version of the site for your device.”

The new site is powered by a UI framework based on XHP, Javelin, and WURFL, a detailed database mapping user agents to device capabilities. This enables the company to target experiences and features to thousands of different devices, says Byron.