Why Doesn't Facebook Have an Android 4.0 App?
Facebook recently updated their app for Froyo. Android 2.2. Android from more than 2 years ago. Good for them, its definitely the best version of their app yet, but it still feels like an Android app from 2 years ago, because it is. What I'd love to know is why wasn't this the app 2 years ago?
Google does this all the time, the Gmail and youtube experiences on Android 2.3 are very different from 4.1. Clearly, it isn't prohibitively hard to hide newer features on older platforms. Even small devs like Gigbeat are doing a great job adding 4.0 features for 4.0 users. I'm sure there's others.
The thought process presumably goes like this: Froyo and Gingerbread are on everything right now, but pretty soon, ICS is going to be the new Froyo. Since we have to do that development eventually anyway, we might as well do it now and treat the early adopters to something special, and also test it on them. Its like mac devs adding support for retina Pro, its a tiny group of early adopters now, but eventually it'll be the whole userbase.
Why don't big companies like facebook (or twitter) seem to think like this? A whole bunch of the Jellybean features would be awesome on facebook, especially the expandable notifications. Are we going to get those in 2 years when Jellybean is old and busted? Do we have to wait for Android tablets to have a larger marketshare than the ipad before they'll make us a facebook tablet app? These companies have already done the UI design (for thier ipad apps), and they can afford the cash to develop tablet apps, even if the return isn't huge yet. It took facebook a year to release an ipad app, and I bet they're lagging behind on cutting edge features on iOS too, though I don't have an iOS device to verify this.
I get the impression that they don't expect android (or even iOS in some cases) to last long enough to warrant developing a cutting edge app. Either that or they're just reacting to the market rather than planning for it. Is there no one at these companies looking at the newest releases from Google and Apple and thinking, "thats cool! We could do something with that!" They're evidently spending money on the app, there seems to be an update every week. They're just adding features to support older versions of Android.
A buggy holo-ish facebook tablet app that constantly changes is better than no tablet app. Us early adopters are used to the odd force close. Give us something to play with. Feed our addiction to the latest and greatest by giving us something more than what we wanted from you in 2010. You have to make it eventually, why not show it off before its old news?