updated 11:40 pm EDT, Thu September 8, 2011
Facebook hire may point to Project Spartan
Facebook's plan to make an iOS-oriented platform for HTML5 web apps, Project Spartan, may have been given a lift after new word that it has hired to boost its efforts. Teck Chia, the founder of HTML5 mobile app store OpenAppMkt, has reportedly been hired. Purposes of the hire were unknown, although TechCrunch noted that Chia had previously worked on Facebook apps and would be an ideal fit to help manage Facebook apps converted to HTML5.
Project Spartan is expected to be Facebook's attempt at bringing the social network's apps, mostly games like Zynga's Farmville, to an iPhone-optimized web platform. It would incorporate other aspects of the website but have a common anchor in code.
Apple is rumored to be aware of Project Spartan and even actively supporting Facebook in getting it completed, although an August 1 deadline has been missed. Facebook may see it as a way of competing with Apple and preventing customers from jumping to native iOS apps where it can't profit. For Apple, it may be worth any lost App Store revenue as it could reduce the importance of Flash and take away one of the remaining incentives to get an Android phone.
Neither Facebook nor OpenAppMkt has confirmed the switch, although OpenAppMkt is believed to still be running.