Facebook for BlackBerry Should Be Built by Facebook Not RIM

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Back in 2010 we posted an article called “Facebook for BlackBerry Not Refreshing – Worst App Ever?“. The article highlights some of the elements that make Facebook for BlackBerry such a bad app. After having brought this up countless times with some of the people at RIM, the real conclusion is that perhaps Facebook should never have been made by RIM.

Because the app is built by RIM, the company has to wait on Facebook releasing APIs that support critical features such as Event Management. Ideally, RIM wouldn’t have to wait on this and would be given source code under NDA, but this isn’t the case. Considering all the bad PR around RIM and the fact that the company is downsizing to buckle down for BlackBerry 10, it doesn’t look like the OS 5-7 version of Facebook for BlackBerry is going to get up to par with the iOS version any time soon.

facebook for iOS feed
Facebook for iOS feed view

This is a perfect example of how different the user experience is for iOS versus BlackBerry. When I open my feed on both devices, BlackBerry doesn’t even show Instagram posts whereas iOS shows a beautiful image in the feed.

facebook for blackberry feed
Facebook for BlackBerry feed view

One of the most obvious differences between the Facebook app for iOS versus BlackBerry is the feed view. The feed on iOS is a pleasure to look at and pictures all load in the feed. The BlackBerry version looks just terrible by comparison. The BlackBerry version still lacks features (even in the current version in the Beta Zone) that the iOS version has such as being able to look at pictures in the feed. Some have said that it’s because of the Facebook acquisition of Instagram that pictures in the iOS feed are larger and more beautiful. Perhaps the fact that Facebook controls the iOS version means they put far more attention to detail in the app and since Instagram also ignored BlackBerry, perhaps the acquisition affects the user experience on BlackBerry in more ways than one.

We’ve learned that Facebook is being made for BlackBerry 10, but it looks like it’s still being developed by RIM. This could be a big problem because, as mentioned above, if RIM is constantly waiting on Facebook to release them APIs in order to keep up with the other apps, it will always be behind. Then again, there’s no way RIM could release a BlackBerry 10 smartphone without Facebook.

Perhaps the fact that Microsoft Corporation developed the Windows Phone version of Facebook provides some hope for the situation. Microsoft has experienced the same problems as RIM when developing a third party Facebook app. Just look at this Engadget quote:

“In fact, [Facebook for Windows Phone] wasn’t really something you looked forward to using and it’s been slow to add the features considered standard on competing mobile platforms. “

Many have complained about the lack of features for Facebook for Windows Phone but Microsoft is pushing Facebook for APIs that RIM will surely be able to take advantage of as well. Hopefully Microsoft is paving the way for a great Facebook app for BlackBerry 10.

Facebook has also invested a great deal of money in mobile development companies. Surely, this investment will span more platforms than just iOS. With BlackBerry 10 supporting many familiar code bases for iOS and Android devs, perhaps we won’t have to see Facebook for BlackBerry 10 by RIM forever. Hopefully RIM will be able to convince Facebook to make the app themselves. If it’s not too much dev work, and if they can instill confidence in Facebook that the subscriber numbers will be significant, then a Facebook for BlackBerry by Facebook would be the most ideal situation. We have our fingers crossed that this will be the situation.

  • http://twitter.com/jpinkerton John Pinkerton

    Facebook is looking heavily at monetizing mobile. RIM should make sure that their app does everything it can to prevent monetization for Facebook, then when they’re missing out on those checks maybe Facebook will say, “Fine, we’ll do it ourselves.”

  • http://about.me/kylemcinnes Kyle McInnes

    Interesting point. Facebook probably also makes a lot of money sending traffic to Apple’s App Store. If RIM had a solid app ecosystem that tied in nicely with Facebook, that would also probably push things along.

  • Jimsbag

    Agreed, and my sentiments exactly. As the numbers released by facebook today point out, millions of users are only using the mobile apps and not logging into FB via web browsers. While the BB FB app is lacking in some areas it is still far better in most areas then the mobile site. As one of “those people” who almost never us a desktop to access FB, and only due so on my BB, I want the app to be better, but not at the expense of needless ads and extra data. If FB made the app themselves I am confident advertisements will be in the forefront, and this means more data use, and slower speeds. For my money, I’ll stick with what RIM is building.

  • http://techtites.com/ Ajay

    I would prefer a mix between iOS and the BB versions. I love the dropdown you get when you hit the Facebook button in Blackberry to jump between Feed / Messages / Chat etc.

    Also like the cleaner view of notifications as opposed to the iOS version. However, the BB app could definitely use a major upgrade in its ability to display the feeds including inline pictures as you mentioned above

  • http://about.me/kylemcinnes Kyle McInnes

    Hopefully Facebook could develop the app and take a few hints from RIM. I agree there are things RIM did better such as the integration. RIM’s deep integration blows iOS out the water.

  • http://www.lmprophoto.com/ Hawaii Wedding Photography

    BlackBerry doesn’t even show Instagram posts whereas iOS shows a beautiful image in the feed.

  • http://www.hitgrove.net/ Hitgrove

    bb have failed on showcasing the facebook

  • greatwiseone

    It’s a legacy issue that RIM builds its own Facebook app rather than Facebook building an app for the BBOS. The need to work with BES and BIS meant RIM would prefer building the apps themselves, rather than letting Facebook see those internal API’s. While one would prefer Facebook or Twitter to make their own apps for BB10, it’s likely not going to be the case at launch.