Facebook’s chief product officer is reportedly requiring a number of team members to switch from iPhones to Android phones so they can experience how most people interact with the social network.
“I am mandating a switch of a whole bunch of my team over to Android, just because people, when left up to their own devices, will often prefer an iPhone,” Chris Cox revealed at a recent Facebook press event, according to Wired.
Facebook workers need to be “reporting bugs and living in the same experience that most Facebook users experience today,” Cox explained.
The iPhone is extremely popular in some countries like the U.S., U.K., and Japan, but some 82.8 percent of the world’s smartphones are based on Android. Most people can’t afford an iPhone — which starts at $649 for an unlocked 16-gigabyte iPhone 6s — whereas the low cost of Android development allows for a mix of low- and high-end devices. To keep growing, Facebook is looking to expand deeper into poorer countries like India.
Much of the company’s mobile development has been iPhone-centric. When it rolls out new features, the iPhone is often the first device to get them.
In October Facebook launched an optional “2G Tuesdays” program, encouraging its staff to try a simulated 2G-level connection, since many people in developing countries don’t have access to 3G or 4G and can’t make use of media-rich content.