Get ready for a double dose of addiction with the launch of a dedicated Facebook app for the BlackBerry smartphone family.
Until today, using Facebook via your BlackBerry was only for the dedicated. The very dedicated. Let's face it, the BlackBerry's native microbrowser isn't exactly Safari Mobile, and Facebook's very Web 2.0 interface was never designed for screens smaller than a sub-notebook.
That all changed overnight, when BlackBerry parent company RIM unveilled a Facebook application for the BlackBerry. It's yet another sign that RIM is ramping up its efforts to break the BlackBerry out of corporate-land, following their release earlier this month of the BlackBerry Unite groupware (which brings enterprise-grade features such as over-the-air calendar syncing and sharing to consumers) and rumours of an all-new BlackBerry device with a touchscreen interface and enhanced multimedia.
The native Facebook app swaps the conventional browser-based access for a clean custom-built interface. A row of shortcut icons atop the screen are used to set your status (and check the status of your friends), send a message, upload a photo snapped with your BlackBerry's camera, view your list of friends, write on their wall and poke someone you're too shy to chat up in real life.
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However, in order to cut down the clutter, you don't see the familiar Facebook page in the app's main window - only your inbox listing messages and wall posts. Mind you, this is where BlackBerry's push technology comes into play, with immediate notifications through its own icon on your BlackBerry home screen. Some activities, such as viewing a friend's profile, dumps you out into the BlackBerry browser.
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For owners of a Curve or Pearl, the photo features make for streamlined photo-blogging: it's a cinch to upload snaps to your site, create a new album, set tags and write captions. Apart from that, the app is very message-centric - it's more for staying in touch with Facebook users rather than perusing profiles and other more random activities.
To download the Facebook app, use your BlackBerry browser to visit facebook.com. RIM has also prepared a handy online tutorial .