BlackBerry bursts into mobile social networking

25 Oct 2007

Facebook has been having a good day so far. First Microsoft shells out US$252m for a mere 1.6pc share, and now BlackBerry, smart phone and much loved executive accessory, has built a custom application for the site.

BlackBerry customers have already been able to access the site from the handset’s browser but this application is designed by Research in Motion (RIM) to work like the push email function of the BlackBerry.

In the US, T-Mobile has been selected as the first carrier to provide the new software application to its customers.

Here in Ireland this writer was able to access and download the free application last night from her O2 BlackBerry.

Because the software application works like the smart phone’s email system, it means Facebook users can read and compose messages while offline.

Unlike the web layout of Facebook, this application has a minimalist user interface and has seven key functions: status updates, photos, friends list, invite friends, wall posts and sending a message.

“Facebook is one of the fastest-growing web destinations among BlackBerry smartphone users and it has become an important element in the evolving fabric of personal communications,” said Mike Lazaridis, president and co-CEO at Research In Motion.

“The worlds of wireless communication and social utilities, such as Facebook, continue to converge.

“As people look for new ways to stay connected and network with peers and colleagues, true mobile access to these types of utilities can only become more popular,” said Jill Aldort, senior analyst, consumer research at Yankee Group.

“Even at this nascent stage of the market, 19pc of adult consumers who access social networks on their PCs also regularly access these same sites on their mobile phones.”

By Marie Boran