Facebook for Mobiles v1.5: Getting closer to the real thing

By Joe Doherty, ITworld |  Personal Tech, BlackBerry, blackberry apps

Back in March, I wrote a little note about BlackBerry apps that weren't worth the download. One application in particular I didn't find very useful was Facebook for Mobiles. I used the application for a few months and then removed it from my BlackBerry Storm. Then late last month, Facebook delivered Facebook for Mobiles v1.5. Will this new update remain on my phone? The answer is a definite...maybe.

Before you start writing in and complaining about my wishywashy-ness, let me just say that a "maybe" is significantly better than the "no" I had expected to be writing. There were many issues I had with the first iteration of the application. Perhaps none more telling than it just wasn't useful. I found that getting any status updates though my email box was more than adequate, and it didn't use up any battery power or airtime with all of the regular pushes. I also didn't like that I always had to check the app to see what was up on Facebook. I liked checking my emails and then logging on if I had something to say or wanted to see something/someone. So what's hip and cool about this new version? Certainly not me, saying "hip and cool"...

Well, once again, my status updates are no longer routed through my email. Not sure why that is. I need to play around with the settings, it seems. But, now all of the various messaging options are available through Facebook's inbox. That's a nice feature. No need to rummage around the constrained mobile app to find who wrote what. Another really neat option available (not by default...you need to choose this one) is the integration of your Facebook events and calendar into your BlackBerry's calendar. Never miss another Facebook friend's birthday! (You may read that last sentence any way you wish.) And, yes, you are now able to comment on status updates. This last one is huge, and is the biggest reason I didn't have any use for the previous version of the app. Most of my time on Facebook is making wiseacre remarks to friends' updates. I know I'm not unique, and so do the Facebook developers.

The interface hasn't changed all that much in v1.5, although I did think the status list loaded faster and was a little easier to read. One missing feature is the ability to customize the quick-launch icons on the main screen. I mean, seriously, does anyone EVER "poke" someone? (You may NOT read that last sentence any way you wish.) I also would like to have the option to see the various groups I've joined or people I'm a fan of. Not all the time, but certainly more often than I'd ever use the "poke" function.

The bottom line: I'm not sure if I will keep this app on my phone. But it is certainly getting closer to the Facebook experience I was expecting, and for that the developers should be applauded. One thing I would love to see is an open source Facebook where developers could get their hands on the SDK and create their own mobile Facebook app. Even if it wasn't strictly open source, but even just available. I would like to see what other creative minds out there could do.

What do you think?

You can follow me on that other social networking site, Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mulderjoe

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