Facebook has launched version 2.0 of its official Android application. The new application has be re-written for speed. 1_feed_phoneFacebook says that tasks will now be twice as fast. They will be most noticeable when launching the application and loading up photos within the app. The update will be available from the Google Play Store.

Earlier this year, Facebook launched a new iOS application that relies on native code. Much like this new Android app. Facebook’s engineering team explains some of the process on the company’s blog:

Over the last year, we’ve been retooling our mobile apps to make them faster, more reliable, and easier to use. Several months ago, we embarked on a major step change for iOS and shipped a native re-write of Facebook for iOS. With Android, we’ve moved to a fixed-date release cycle and have been steadily making improvements over time so that Facebook performs consistently across multiple platforms.  

Today, we’re releasing a new version of Facebook for Android that’s been rebuilt in native code to improve speed and performance. To support the unique complexity of Facebook stories across devices, we’re moving from a hybrid native/webview to pure native code, allowing us to optimize the Facebook experience for faster loading, new user interfaces, disk cache, and so on.

We rebuilt several of Facebook for Android’s core features in native code, including news feed and timeline, to create a faster experience whether you’re opening the Facebook app, looking at photos, or interacting with friends. Now, you can comment and like a story more quickly, and photo loading is optimized to be much faster. We also built a new, automatically updated story banner to bubble up the newest stories, no matter where you are in news feed.

Facebook says that the new faster app provides a foundation for future feature additions.

Facebook is also taking its SDK 3.0 for Android and Native Login out of beta since launching in October and reaching over 80,000 downloads of the beta. We previously told you about new features introduced with Facebook SDK 3.0, which brings native UI controls, simplified session management, and improved API support for developers integrating Facebook services into their Android apps.