July 24, 2010

Friendly: The Best Facebook Experience for iPad

Facebook is the most popular social networking site in the world. The iPad is probably the hottest gadget in the world. It makes sense that the two products are on a collision course, as an increasing number of mobile Web users experience Facebook through their tablets and touch screens. But so far, Facebook has not yet debuted an iPad-optimized experience, relying on its solid iPhone application and its mobile Web site to make do. In this vacuum comes Friendly, from the team that brought you Twazzup, the innovative Twitter Web client, and the results, as you should expect, are very good. The experience is optimized for touch, and takes full advantage of the iPad's screen real estate. If the app were available free from the iTunes store, I would encourage everyone to switch immediately. As it is, its $4.99 pricetag is still alluring for those tired of compromise when it comes to Facebook and the iPad.

The Facebook Feed Experience Through Friendly on iPad

Cyril Moutran, cofounder and CEO of Twazzup, and previously the founder of Yokway, said in an e-mail yesterday that over the last few months the company has shifted its development efforts to the tablet format, and Friendly is the first major launch bearing the fruits of that labor.

As you can expect, thanks to the nature of the product, Friendly brings all the major elements of Facebook directly to the iPad, including browsing the news feed, full of updates from your friends, and enabling you to take actions on those items, or update your own status. The application is delivered in a very clean way, with tabs for "Live Feed", "Events" and outstanding "Requests".

My Facebook Profile Tab in Friendly On iPad

This tabbed model trumps the button selections on today's Facebook for iPhone offering. In those cases, selecting a section (like Photos) siloed your activity, while Friendly keeps you one click away from all major parts of the site. Atop the application are quick links to "Home", "Profile", "Friends" and your Facebook in box. As you navigate the product, you can hit any of these options, or click the back arrow to return to the previous page - just like a real browser, which is how the product is described.

Like Twazzup, Friendly Gets Rich Media Right

Like a real browser, Friendly does not compromise in its capabilities either. Clicking a YouTube ,video displays it in full glory on the iPad's screen, and you also gain the opportunity to edit Facebook fan pages, if you are an administrator, an increasingly important position for the network as activity morphs from being completely casual to more professional.

Editing a Facebook Fan Page on Friendly

There are some who may balk at putting down five bucks for a network which itself is free, but it seems the company has delivered a premium app for a premium product in the iPad. The product is built from day one for he touch-driven experience, and is certainly worth looking into. You can find Friendly on the iTunes store here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/friendly-facebook-browser/id382011064?mt=8

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