Fring gets Facebook, other third-party add-ons

Facebook, Gmail Notifier, and Orkut are some of the add-ons developers have made for Fring's mobile communicator using the company's API.

Fring add-ons screen.

After so many announcements for this or that application's Facebook appearance, it's nice to see Facebook play a supporting role in kind.

On Tuesday, Fring, a VoIP and IM application for a range of mobile phones, added the ability to fold Facebook into the communicator, through a new Settings menu option called fringAdd-ons. Gmail Notifier, Orkut, vTap videos, and Yandex.mail are also in there, together representing the first extensions created by third-party developers using Fring's application programming interface.

Exactly how many add-ons join this handful will depend on Fring's popularity with casual developers. Fring is not the only mobile software company opening its API to programmers. In fact, crowd-sourcing software authors is now seen as integral to a mobile software publisher's strategy and success. iPhone is the biggest honcho to have more recently welcomed developers, and the success of Google Android as a mobile platform is tied to the mostly independent developers fighting to win big money for their grand ideas and edgy implementations.

So far, connector programs like the Facebook add-on are a good start. Relatively easy to make, programs like these help Fring close in on bragging rights for being the most far-reaching social networking hub out of all the multinetwork text and VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) communicators without putting forth additional development dollars.

FringAdd-ons are currently available for the latest versions of Nokia Symbian 9, Sony Ericsson UIQ, and Windows Mobile.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.