Facebook has bought a small company, Strobe, that helps developers push mobile apps to multiple platforms at once.Strobe lets developers build a single HTML5 app, then make sure that app is packaged up right to be placed in various mobile stores, like Apple’s App store or the Android Market, as well as to the Web.
At one point, Facebook was rumoured to be building its own phone based on a fork of Android, but in the last year it’s moved more toward creating a common app platform — for instance, it recently extended the online Facebook payment system, Credits, to mobile apps, although it carved out a big exception for Apple. (Probably because Apple is still Facebook’s most important mobile distribution channel.)
HTML5 is a growing part of that strategy because it lets Facebook develop once for multiple platforms, as CTO Bret Taylor explained earlier this year.
The Strobe acquisition is basically a talent hire, as Facebook is interested in the company’s founder Charles Jolley. Strobe’s development platform will still be available for some time. Terms of the deal weren’t revealed.