BlackBerry released an update this week of its Facebook for BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet mobile app that gives uses the ability to upload videos, select albums to add photos to, and improves the interface for search, Pages, and the news feed. The app still lacks Events, which we see as a glaring omission for any somewhat-mobile Facebook app, even if you don’t consider tablets truly mobile.
BlackBerry released the first iteration of its Facebook app for PlayBook at the beginning on May, about two weeks after the launch of the device itself. Some reports and BlackBerry have said sales are healthy, including one estimating 250,000 units sold in the first month. A conflicting report from a source at Best Buy stated that sales had missed goals by 90% and the return rate was high.
Facebook apps have been pegged as big drivers of engagement on mobile devices, so a strong and innovative version for PlayBook could help sales of the device that analysts say is crucial to the future of Blackberry developer Resarch In Motion (RIM).
Facebook for BlackBerry PlayBook v1.0.5 has the ability to upload video. Since the PlayBook’s video recorder shoots in 1080p, users could easily record and upload a high-def video of a demo at business conference.
Other improvements bring the PlayBook app’s design in line with that of iPhone and Android devices. Pages can be accessed from a button in the Friends section, users can filter search by friends, everyone, or Pages, and a ‘+’ button beside news feed stories allows users to quickly add Likes or comments without leaving the news feed view. Photos can be uploaded to a specific album, and links to settings and the Help Center are readily available.
The most recent version of Facebook for BlackBerry Smartphones allows users to choose when they delete Messages whether to delete them from just their device, their Facebook account, or both. The PlayBook update allows for Message deletion, but only from both your device and account at the same time.
V1.0.5 does not resolve the app’s lack of Facebook Groups or Events. With the PlayBook catering to business networkers who often attend business conferences and mixers, the omission of Events is difficult to understand. The feature’s presence in even the earliest iterations of most Facebook mobile apps would suggest it isn’t a difficult technology problem to solve. While unique features may attract attention, a Facebook mobile app needs to cover the basic Facebook experiences, and the PlayBook’s doesn’t yet.