RIM has released a new version of its Facebook for Blackberry Smartphones app which includes the location feature Places, as well as improved search and friend lists. Users can now check-in to nearby Places, tag friends, and view check-ins by friends, but not add photos to check-ins or view Deals as users of the latest Facebook for iPhone application can. The update gives Blackberry more Facebook functionality than Palm or Windows phones which still don’t have Places, but less than iPhone and Android which have Groups.
Blackberry’s last official Facebook app update included a new photo browser, but had push notification configuration issues which led some users to receive duplicate notifications, or not receive them at all. Blackberry is part of the updated Facebook mobile platform, giving Facebook-integrated apps on the phone access to Single Sign-on, relieving users from having to repeatedly enter their email and password.
According to Blackberry’s changelog, the following updates were made in Facebook for Blackberry version 126.96.36.199:
- Facebook Places – You can now share your location with your friends using Facebook Places.
- Messages list – You can now view your Facebook messages list.
- Searching – You can now search Facebook for people and pages.
- Friends and Pages screen -The friends list has been redesigned and you can now view your Pages list from the Friends screen.
Blackberry may need to be more clear with its users as to what service package is required to run Facebook for Blackberry. The comments on the download page show that many users are receiving an error when trying to load Facebook, which is likely due to them not having paid for Blackberry internet service.
By adding Places, RIM shows that it is concerned with offering new Facebook features. Blackberry users are obviously concerned with Facebook too, as 60% of it them use the app everyday, opposed to 50% of iPhone users as of April 2010. Blackberry is one release cycle behind right now, but if it can close this gap, die-hard Facebook users will be more likely to consider purchasing RIM’s phones.