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Facebook Upgrades BlackBerry App

The updated social networking app enables tighter integration of Facebook contacts with the BlackBerry contact list.

BlackBerry users can easily stay connected to their online networks, as Facebook has updated its popular social networking application.

The app, which is the 1.5 version, adds a host of new features to let users interact on the go with the social network. The app tries to utilize the messaging prowess Research In Motion's smartphones are known for, and it enables users to send and receive Facebook messages or wall posts, poke users, or add new friends from the handset. The new app also lets Facebook conversations appear as a threaded IM on the handset, as well as place conversations in the phone's message list.

The latest version also has tighter integration between the BlackBerry's contact lists and a user's Facebook friends. For example, when a call is received from someone saved in the user's Facebook lists, that person's profile photo can pop up on the screen as the caller ID picture. Users can also have events from Facebook show up on the BlackBerry's calendar. The Facebook app can be downloaded directly to a BlackBerry via the mobile browser, or it can be had through the App World for devices like the Storm, Curve 8900, or Bold.

BlackBerrys were once the exclusive domain of high-level executives, but the smartphone has been rapidly gaining traction among noncorporate users. RIM is banking on consumer-oriented apps to help it gain more appeal in the casual space, and social networks will play a large role in this push for the mainstream. The Facebook app has been well received, and an app from rival MySpace recently broke BlackBerry download records.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on the business uses of social networks. Download the report here (registration required).

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