Back in January I wrote about an iPad application called Facepad, which drew heavy inspiration from Twitter’s iPad application to create a similar ‘swipable’ experience for Facebook that lets you jump between open pages by swiping left and right (it’s pretty slick). The application has hit a couple of speed bumps — Facebook asked it to change its name, so it’s now called MyPad — but it’s still drawing plenty of users, many of whom are spending a lot of time in the app every day. You can download MyPad on the App Store right here.
Cofounder Cole Ratias says that the application has now surpassed 3 million downloads since it launched in January, and that on average users are spending nearly 3.5 million minutes inside the application per day. They’re also uploading around 4,000 photos each day through the app.
MyPad makes money by placing ads in its free version and selling a premium version with no ads (the paid app is currently 99 cents). But it has bigger ambitions than just getting a lot of page views — it’s looking to take advantage the eyeballs drawn to its Facebook features to launch a gaming platform that’s integrated into the application, but doesn’t live on Facebook. Ratias says that the service will also be offering tools to developers that let them tie their games into MyPad’s platform, which we’ll be hearing about in the next few months. In the mean time the company is closing a “large seed round” and will be expanding beyond its team of three.
MyPad’s success — and that of its biggest competitor, Friendly — is made possible by the fact that Facebook doesn’t offer a native iPad application of its own, even though the hugely successful device has been out for nearly a year now. This is likely because Facebook is already having to grapple with keeping numerous native applications up to date (like Android, iPhone/iPod Touch, and Palm OS) — adding a bunch of tablet operating systems to the mix is only going to make things more difficult to keep the apps at feature parity. Instead, we’re probably going to see a tablet-optimized HTML5 site at some point.
For the time being, many iPad users are turning to apps like MyPad and Friendly. But these aren’t perfect — at their core they’re reskinned versions of Facebook’s touch.facebook.com mobile site, which leads to some quirks (Facebook Chat is unreliable, for one). Ratias says that in addition to the gaming-related features detailed above, MyPad is still planning to rebuild some of Facebook’s core features, like a new photo viewer and chat client that should have better stability.