So Where's the Palm Pre webOS Facebook App?
When former Palm chief Ed Colligan invited Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg onto the stage at CES in January, to regale the tech press with tales of the social networking company's awesomeness, there was little doubt in most of our minds that there would be a native Facebook app for the Palm Pre, in addition to the Synergy integration with webOS's PIM databases. (Yours Truly was confident enough to predict exactly that in February.)
But the Pre launched without such an app, and months have gone by with no positive omens - apart from an early homebrew program, in FriendsFlow. Meanwhile, the iPhone is about to receive its third iteration. So what gives? PalmInfocenter reached out to Facebook for iPhone developer Joe Hewitt to ask whether or not he was involved in a webOS app. His response:
"I get asked this question a lot, including by Palm. I can't really comment on what Facebook and Palm might do together in the future, but I am an iPhone developer and so I will continue to concentrate on our iPhone offerings"
Intriguing: if Palm is chasing Mr. Hewitt's talents and was rebuffed, does this mean they've since approached someone else? Undeterred, we next approached Facebook themselves. Director of Communications Brandee Barker was happy to tell us:
"The integration of Facebook with the Palm Pre local address book has been very successful and we look forward to doing more on this platform. Generally, our goal is to enable the development of a Facebook application and integration on every mobile platform. There are several mobile platforms that we don't yet have an app for, including the Palm Pre, Symbian s60 or Google Android among others. Users can still access Facebook on their device through our mobile site that is optimized for touch screens and the Palm Pre at x.facebook.com."
To apply our own interpretation: Facebook are happy to work with Palm on such an app, but won't be doing the heavy lifting themselves... which leaves only Palm themselves to turn to for information.
We've emailed Developer Community Manager Chuq Von Rospach for a comment, to see if we can tease out any details of such an app being developed by either Palm or a third party. We'll update the story as soon as we receive a response, but the bottom line seems to be: native Facebook on webOS is not happening anytime soon. Bummer, poke addicts.
Update: Mr. Von Rospach has responded to our incessant harrassment of him on Twitter (with graciousness and patience). Palm does not wish to "set expectations by accident" and thus has declined to comment.