With products like the Outlook add-on Xobni relying on Facebook to give Outlook contacts a Facebook face to go with the name, it was only a matter of time before a mobile app started doing the same.
On Tuesday, RIM released the latest edition of Facebook for BlackBerry, version 1.5. In it, the BlackBerry-maker loads on new features to integrate your BlackBerry contact information with that contact's Facebook photo. If you choose, the app will update the existing photos in your BlackBerry contact list with your Facebook friends' profile photos, an association you can also create manually in Facebook, by clicking a friend's name. From that screen, you can request a friend's phone number, and view their BlackBerry contact information.
Your friend's photo shows up in the address book along with their Facebook name. You'll still be able to click their number to call, or to utilize a shortcut to poke a buddy or open Facebook for you to draft a personal message or wall note. In addition, the new Facebook for BlackBerry will also plot birthdays and events onto your BlackBerry calendar.
RIM has also integrated messages and status updates into the BlackBerry. Conversations will now show up as an IM thread in the application, and as a message in your phone's message list. We tried it out with a direct message, and minutes later the message showed up in our Message in-box, along with a cursor blinking in a blank field to facilitate a quick reply.
RIM tells us in a press release that the latest update adds support for French, Italian German Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Polish, Russian, Czech, Traditional/Simplified Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
Facebook for BlackBerry is available now from mobile.blackberry.com via the mobile browser or from www.blackberry.com/go/facebook from the desktop. If you can wait a day, downloading the app through the BlackBerry App World program on your phone (running version 4.2 of the operating system or higher) is the best way to get the app--if you change phones or accidentally delete the program, you'll be able to re-download it hassle-free.