An industry analyst says he believes Facebook will eventually find itself coding an indigenous operating system to optimize support for mobile versions of the popular site.
According to senior ABI researcher Aapo Markkanen, the growing importance of mobile for Facebook presents both an opportunity and a serious strategic challenge.
"On one hand, mobile allows the world's leading social network to engage with millions of new consumers, but on the other hand its ability to make money from mobile users remains untested," Markkanen told TG Daily in an e-mailed statement.
"[Another] huge problem for Facebook is that while on the web it is a platform, on mobile it's just another application. To strengthen its hand in the short term we expect Facebook to aggressively take advantage of HTML5, but in the longer term it should absolutely become a mobile operating system of its own."
Markkanen also noted that the symbiosis of social networks and mobile phones can also be seen in recent moves by Google and Apple. For example, Google's attempt at social networking, Google+, has been designed to benefit from deep integration with Android, which is likely to appeal to app devs. Similarly, Apple has teamed up with Twitter and built the microblogging service into iOS 5.
"The interesting aspect in Apple's and Twitter's partnership is how it can provide iPhone users with a verifiable social identity for websites and apps. That gives developers a lot of scope to innovate in areas such as authentication, personalization and advertising. It's a hint of things to come," ABI exec Dan Shey added.