Facebook releases major update to Android developer tools

Android developers now have access to the same pre-built functions as iOS developers, putting them on an even footing in order to build better apps.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam

Facebook released an app developer kit update today that gives Android developers access to pre-built app functions and a mobile ad tool similar to what iOS developers already use.

The update, the biggest for the Android toolkit so far, comes weeks after the social network gave iOS developers a similar boost. It allows developers to create apps that functions more as a built-in part of the operating system rather than as an afterthought.

These features include a friend picker, places picker, profile pictures, and login controls. Developers build apps faster by dropping these elements into their apps. The new kit will also allow developers to measure clicks and installs for"mobile app install ads" -- i.e., mobile ads that implore users to install new apps. The social network opened up these ads, which allow developers to places these sorts of ads in users' mobile News Feeds, to all third-party developers yesterday.

Facebook says the pre-built interface functions means more installs and more people using the app regularly. The social network is doing more of the development legwork, so developers can spend more time building and improving other parts of their apps. In the end, this should mean better app experiences for users.