Is Facebook Unlocking its New Answer to Mobile Monetization?

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) announced Thursday it plans to launch an app center for its mobile platform that would allow users to get personalized app recommendations on their smartphones. The app store will let users download Facebook-integrated apps for both Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android devices, including popular apps like Instagram, Pinterest, and Draw Something.

When the app center launches, Facebook said it will have more than 600 different apps, the sheer volume of which demonstrates Facebook’s success letting third-party developers build games and social apps on Facebook.com using Facebook’s API. According to Facebook, more than 230 million people play games on the site every month, and more than 130 of those games have more than 1 million monthly active users.

With the app center, Facebook may finally be rounding the curve on mobile. Facebook’s mobile platform has received a lot of criticism, both from users, who don’t like the interface, to analysts, who say the company has failed to monetize on an increasingly popular medium for accessing the site.

The mobile app center will also benefit developers, many of whom rely heavily, or exclusively, on promotion from companies like Facebook, Apple, and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) through their app stores. And for a lucky few, that recognition could result in a mega-payout. Just look at Instagram, which was bought by Facebook back in April for $1 billion, or Draw Something, a mobile app developed by OMGPop, which at the height of the game’s popularity was bought by Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) for $180 million.