RIM Adds Facebook to Blackberry

Research In Motion Ltd. today launched its faster, more optimized Facebook application for Blackberry, at the CTIA Wireless IT and Entertainment show in San Francisco.

The application is non browser-based, giving the user access to all the site's "essential" features: uploading photos (applicable to the Pearl or Curve handsets), adding friends, poking, wall posting, and private messaging. All these actions are very quickly executed, according to Crackberry forum user postings, and only lag a few seconds behind the user's Facebook site.

Social networking sites, however, have yet to become a real phenomenon in the mobile space. Last year, Helio launched MySpace Mobile, which provided a similarly mobile-optimized version of that site; complete with updates, photo uploads, and friend management.

The adoption rate for Helio's version was poor to say the least.

But the failure there was attributed to a brand name with no clout (Helio, not MySpace) targeting a too-young demographic. RIM's Blackberry is well known, with a user base that has grown tremendously year by year, and has started off on the right foot, by offering the application for free. All new Blackberrys will also ship with the program already installed. So attracting users shouldn't be a problem there.

Furthermore, with Microsoft having evaluated Facebook at $15 billion dollars, putting the a mobile version of its site on over 7 million Blackberry devices seems plausible. This could be the pairing that popularizes "go-cial networking."

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