Facebook Project Spartan Leaks; Unveil Tipped Monday With iPad App

Facebook's HTML5 app push, codenamed Project Spartan, looks set to launch next week, with a Monday unveil for the mobile platform – and the iPad Facebook app – tipped. The scheduling, so TechCrunch's sources say, is designed to offer Facebook a fallback option if Apple decides not to share stage-space with the social network at the iPhone 5 launch on October 4. Meanwhile, a prematurely posted (and subsequently yanked) Facebook page seemingly documented exactly what Project Spartan will offer to users and developers.

Spotted by TechCrunch, and hastily screen-grabbed before Facebook's engineers could pull the pages down, the system centers around Bookmarks, Messages, Notifications and Friend Requests and the integration of Facebook mobile app functionality. There's app searching, invite support and app bookmarking, along with promised support for both iOS and Android devices.

Project Spartan, so the rumors go, is Facebook's attempt to grab a share of the fast-growing mobile app market. Rather than native code, however – which generally involves either Apple or Google far too much for the social network's liking – Facebook went with HTML5 apps that could be "wrapped" in its own functionality. In-app purchases are supported using Facebook Credits, and all the usual community features tie third-party software in with the existing Wall and sharing support.

Although originally believed to be Facebook's assault on Apple, as more information on the project emerged it appeared that the social network was in fact collaborating with the Cupertino company with Google as their shared target.