RIM announces Facebook PlayBook app while the iPad still doesn't have one

Apple iPad owners still have no Facebook application, but BlackBerry PlayBook owners will this month and it includes quite a few features. Video Chat is coming this week too.

The iPad has been out for over a year now and still has no official Facebook application. Thankfully, RIM today announced that PlayBook owners can expect the new Facebook app to launch sometime in the App World this month. Facebook is one of the apps I was looking for and it is great to see it coming so soon.

RIM reported that there are over 30 million Facebook users of their BlackBerry smartphone application and I think it will be one of the most popular apps on the PlayBook as well. As stated in the press release, the Facebook for PlayBook application includes the following:

  • View and add Friends - Users can interact with friends quickly and easily: find friends by scanning the new grid view of their profile pictures; search for and add new friends and manage new friend requests; browse their profiles, photos and videos; view and interact with wall posts; view key information on profiles and pages; and view, comment and ‘like’ photos on profiles and pages.
  • Enjoy seamless photo and video viewing - Facebook for BlackBerry PlayBook makes it easy to upload photos from the BlackBerry PlayBook Picture Library, tag friends in photos, view comments, tags and likes. The BlackBerry PlayBook can also be connected to an HD TV to display photos and videos at a whole new level in full 1080p HD.
  • Connect with friends using Facebook Chat - On the BlackBerry PlayBook screen, users can enjoy side-by-side viewing of online contacts and active conversations. Notifications of new Chat messages are displayed on the Notifications Bar, so users can quickly and easily read and respond to new Chat messages while browsing friends’ profiles, viewing their pictures or reading their status updates.
  • View and interact with the News Feed - Users will be able to browse highlights such as photo uploads and status updates and seamlessly view links in the BlackBerry PlayBook browser. They will also be able to Comment and Like to discuss and show appreciation for friends’ content, as well as publish a status update or upload a photo from the status publisher accessible from their Profile or from within the News Feed.

The application will be shown at BlackBerry World 2011 this week in Orlando, Florida.

RIM also announced a Video Chat application that should appear in App World on the PlayBook tomorrow, 3 May. The Video Chat application looks pretty exciting and video quality should be great with the forward facing 3 megapixel camera. Features of Video Chat include:

  • One-Click Video and Voice over Wi-Fi Calls - with just one click users can make a call from their Video Chat contact list, log of recent calls or simply by entering the BBID email address of the person they want to call.
  • Incoming Call Notifications - users will receive a notification pop-up when a new video call comes in, allowing them to accept the call as either a video or voice call, or decline the call. For those quiet moments - such as when while watching a movie or playing a game -users will also have the ability to simply set the "Do Not Disturb" option and the BlackBerry PlayBook will automatically ignore all incoming calls.
  • Powerful In-Call Functions - by using the picture-in-picture function users can easily preview their own video image prior to placing the call in order to see what will be displayed on the other end. They can also easily switch cameras from front to rear so their friends can see what they are seeing, and for private moments users can mute/unmute audio or make or take calls using voice only.
  • Friends List - BlackBerry PlayBook Video Chat comes complete with a Friends List for maintaining your favorite contacts. A picture can easily be added to a contact to personalize the entry and a Call Log makes it simple to keep track of received and missed calls.

It looks like RIM is providing fast upgrades and exciting applications for the PlayBook quickly, which is great for us early adopters.