Entries in iOS (2)


A Facebook Phone? Company Testing Voice Apps Now

Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Facebook is building a phone right in front of our faces. Maybe not a real phone, but all the apps and features you'd expect one to have.

Facebook has just added a voice message feature to its Messenger app for iOS and Android. Within the app you can now send a recording to your friends. If you've downloaded the new update you can tap the + button next to the box where you input a message, then tap Record, speak your message and then send it off.

But that's only the start of the voice capabilities Facebook is thinking about. In Canada, Facebook is testing live calls using Voice over IP (VoIP) calling similar to Skype. If you have the iPhone app and live in Canada you can tap the "i" button in the corner of the app and tap "Free Call." You can then make a free call to a Facebook friend who is using the same app. You can't call landline or cellphone numbers.

The system can work over 3G and 4G cellular networks, but it's cheaper if you use Wi-Fi. If you are on a cellular network it will eat at your data plan.

Facebook didn't make a big announcement about the services, but it's a very big move for the social networking company. While Facebook declined to comment on whether it would come to the U.S. or if they could charge for the service, it is a step into voice calling for the company. Not only could that be ultimately disruptive for cellular carriers that offer monthly calling packages, it represents an alternative revenue stream for Facebook.

This is just one of many mobile announcements Facebook has made in the past few months. It upgraded both its iPhone and Android apps to make them faster and it released is new Poke app, which destroys messages 10 seconds or less after you look at them.

In addition to its main app and its Poke app, Facebook also has a Facebook Camera app. You'll also recall that Facebook bought Instagram in April 2012.

Rumors of a Facebook branded phone have swirled around for quite a while now. The New York Times and AllThingsD both reported that the company had internal plans to build its own hardware. However, Mark Zuckerberg denied the rumor in July.

"There are a lot of things you can build in other operating systems as well that aren't really taking, that aren't really like building out a whole phone, which wouldn't make much sense for us to do," he said on an earnings call.

That might make sense, but with all of its apps and now voice features, it sure looks like Facebook is transforming our phones into Facebook phones or it's building its own right in front of our faces.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Facebook's iPad and iPhone App Just Got Faster

Facebook 5.0 for iOS brings speed enhancements and a new design. (Facebook)(NEW YORK) -- If you're an iPhone or iPad owner and a heavy Facebook user, you know the Facebook app has been slow. It can take time to get to a friend's profile, see updates on your newsfeed, see comments and photos. You get used to tapping your fingers.

But on Thursday Facebook has changed that. It's released Facebook 5.0 for iOS, which promises to be twice as fast as the previous version. Facebook says it will be faster to launch, faster when scrolling through the newsfeed and opening photos.

"We've rebuilt the app from the ground up, so now the app opens much faster and your news feed and notifications load right when you open Facebook," Facebook Product Manager, Mick Johnson, wrote in a blog on Facebook Thursday. Johnson told ABC News that it took the team nine months to rewrite the entire code to make it feel like a native iOS app.

Facebook has also addressed the photo loading issue directly. Photos, it promises, will pop right up, and you can close them by swiping downward now.

In March, 488 million Facebook users (out of a total of 955 million) accessed the service via mobile apps. But Facebook has taken a lot of criticism surrounding its mobile performance. On the company's first earnings call last month, CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised improvements to Facebook's mobile apps.

Zuckerberg denied reports of a "Facebook phone." "There are a lot of things you can build in other operating systems as well that aren't really taking, that aren't really like building out a whole phone, which wouldn't make much sense for us to do," he said. Facebook will be integrated into Apple's iOS 6 operating system, which will launch this fall.

The next app to tackle will be the Android app. Johnson wouldn't comment on unreleased products, but did say, "you can reasonably expect we could do similar things on Android."

Facebook 5.0 is now available in the Apple App Store.

Coypright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio