Facebook may be annoyed that Twitter is getting cosy with Apple in iOS 5 but it seems that it’s got its own plan to seduce iPhone and iPad owners. Techcrunch has nabbed a big stash of Facebook plans and among the documents are details of an initiative called Project Spartan.

An HTML5 app store that will run entirely in Safari without ever having to tussle with Apple’s App Store approval rules, Project Spartan is Facebook’s big push to truly master mobile and it’s got some major partners in the pipeline to help it…

The report says Facebook has brought in at least 80 outside developers to labour on Project Spartan with Zynga and the Huffington Post creating apps for the launch. That could come as soon as the next few months.

To match Apple’s easy payment system in the App Store, Facebook is apparently in the process of retooling Facebook Credits so developers can sell apps and offer in-app purchases using them. That would be a key element for Zynga which brings in stacks of cash selling virtual items in its games like Farmville.

The ultimate aim of Project Spartan is said to be for Facebook to circumvent app markets and get straight to mobile owners’ hearts and wallets. While the iPhone and iPad are its main targets, the move could obviously expand to take on the Android Market, BlackBerry App World and the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.

While Facebook already has lots of apps on its platform, the big question is whether it will be able to make a service that’s as convenient and compelling as the app stores we have to choose from already.

Out TBC | £free | Facebook (via Techcrunch)

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