FLASHBACK: Here’s Facebook Mobile Whiz Joe Hewitt Trash-Talking Android


We just reported that Facebook is using Google’s Android platform as the basis for its secret mobile phone project, according to a plugged-in Silicon Valley source.

For more evidence and nuance, don’t miss the Twitter feed of Facebook mobile whiz Joe Hewitt. He’s perhaps best known for his outspoken rants against Apple, and before that, for being one of the pioneers of iPhone web design, creating Facebook’s first (awesome) iPhone sites and apps. But more recently, he has clearly been focusing on Android.

Sure looks like a giveaway to part of Facebook’s mobile strategy, and more than just a personal interest.

Here are some recent tweets from Hewitt. (We’d point you to his blog, but it’s gone.) For what it’s worth, these tweets are from August. He seems to have stopped beating up on Android in September, and is back talking about Apple gadgets, perhaps as a cover.

Sure sounds like someone who thinks they’re building something better. “Introducing Facebook mobile, the best, most social way to develop for Android.” Or something like that.

  • I didn’t say Android is horrendous, I said the tools (Eclipse) are, and the OS is ugly (visually). On technical merits Android is great.
  • Android tools are horrendous, OS is hideous, but the absence of big brother telling me what to do gives it a slight edge.
  • Android fragmentation will hopefully stabilise within 2 years, and if not, at least people upgrade phones much more often than computers.
  • A bit surprised how many hoops I have to jump through to do asynchronous HTTP on Android. NSURLConnection+delegate was so easy.

And more from August, with translations from my colleague Jay Yarow:

  • “[Droid X is] not THAT good. Stick with your iPhone.”
  • “The more I work with Android the more it reminds me of Windows…as in, it’s really flexible, agnostic, and developer-friendly, but also really sloppily designed.”

  • “Android dev community needs a quirksmode.org-like site to chart the subtle differences between each device, so we needn’t buy every one.” (In English — Google still hasn’t provided a solution for the Android fragmentation problem.)
  • “After all those years of hype, AMOLED screens suck. What’s with the gradient banding?!”
  • “Once a day or so it hits me that I am writing Java, and I cry a little.” (Java is the Android programming language.)

And a few older tweets from June:

  • Biggest Android gripe: scrolling. It’s not smooth, inertial animation feels wrong, and no elastic bounce. Somebody show Google an iPhone!
  • Second biggest Android gripe: hard to use with one hand because my thumb can barely reach the stupid hardware buttons on the bottom.
  • Things I like about Android: the pull-down notification bar. Kicks iPhone’s arse big time.

Earlier: Here’s Why Facebook Is Secretly Building A Phone: It Needs To Be A Platform, Not Just A Service