The Windows Phone team today announced on its blog that they public a beta version of the Facebook Windows Phone app to test with users new features (and a new user interface) before rolling it out to the general public.
- The new UI makes a departure from the traditional Windows Phone panoramic & pivot controls to more traditional page navigation structures found on iOS and Android.
- The app is much more aligned with the current Facebook iOS and Android apps, using the slide-out sidebar mechanisms on the left and right side for navigation and chat list respectively, and even pull-to-refresh!
- Having said that, the visual styling is still heavily Metro-inspired with the iconic flat icons, Segoe UI and appbar control.
- It also seems to bring feature-parity to the Windows Phone app which has long been lacking in minor but sometimes useful features. (Previously it was necessary to use web touch.facebook.com in some cases)
- I believe This hybrid “ported-UI” and Metro is a better balance of functionality and Metro-ness than the previous version.
- There are still missing features that isn’t iOS-parity, for example the ability to tag friends in comments by typing their name.
- I think for well-established brands & apps like Facebook, “ported-UIs” will make it much easier for these companies to deliver and maintain feature-parity apps on the Windows Phone platform. A completely unique Metro experience puts a lot of burden on design and engineering that is consistently hard to justify at a cost-basis in relations to market share.
- International users won’t be able to download the US version but by simply changing the URL (ex. en-US to en-AU) you should be able to download it in different regions.