The Facebook application for Android isn’t exactly, shall we say, best-in-class for a multitude of reasons, but at least Facebook is trying to improve it. This is their latest effort.
In our exploration of alternate formats, we came across FlatBuffers, an open source project from Google. FlatBuffers is an evolution of protocol buffers that includes object metadata, allowing direct access to individual subcomponents of the data without having to deserialize the entire object (in this case, a tree) up front.
Might be useful for other Android developers as well.