Twitter is branching out beyond tweets: the company is launching a software development kit today, called Fabric. And with Fabric, Twitter intends to take over your phone.
Like Facebook, Twitter wants to be a mobile ad powerhouse on third-party apps as well as its own. Fabric offers a simple layout for developers, so they can create their own apps. It's nice for developers... and could be very nice for Twitter. If developers use Twitter's ad platform, MoPub, Twitter will make money off those ads. If developers build Twitter into their ads, Twitter will have a far greater reach than it could ever achieve with one product. The little blue bird wants to infiltrate a whole flock of new third-party apps with Fabric.
To sweeten the deal, Twitter developed a program called Digits that will let developers sign people up for apps using their phone number instead of email address. This is key for making a dent in new markets, since there are some places where people do not have email addresses.
Wired's Mat Honan explains:
One source familiar with Twitter's strategy compares the move to Google branching out from search into YouTube and Android and Chrome. "You could ask what does Gmail have to do with search? How does it help search? And the answer is it doesn't. Gmail adds value to Google, though, because it makes Google more central to people's lives."
This won't affect the main Twitter product at all; there's no site redesign or snazzy new feature. But it's one of the most monumental changes the company has made since it took mobile tweets from SMS to an app. What it will do is totally change Twitter as a company. [Wired]