BlackBerry PlayBook

Research In Motion (RIM) must be overjoyed. At this week’s BlackBerry World conference in Orlando, Florida, the company unveiled the first app to offer a PlayBook-optimized interface. And it’s an official Facebook application, no less.

According to RIM, 30+ million BlackBerry smartphone owners use Facebook on their handsets, and now tablet users too will be able to friend people, read News Feeds, see pics and vids, and chat with contacts on the go.

But the most intriguing aspect of this has nothing to do with the UI or functionality. It’s the fact that RIM worked closely with Facebook to develop this app… despite CEO Mark Zuckerberg infamously declining to come out with an official mobile app for the iPad. His reason? The Apple tablet is more computer than mobile device, he said, which is of course different than the PlayBook because … uh … um … hmmm.

It’s more likely that it’s because Apple has been playing around in the social field, but that’s just a guess. But still — ouch, Cupertino. It’s a little like being shot down by a crush who says, “I’m not into dating right now” — only to see the person having a romantic dinner with your frenemy the next day.

The official Facebook app for the PlayBook will be available sometime this month in the BlackBerry App World.

[source RIM press release, below]

RIM Announces New Facebook App for BlackBerry PlayBook

Waterloo, ON – Following on the success of the Facebook for BlackBerry® smartphones app,  Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ: RIMM; TSX: RIM) today announced  Facebook for BlackBerry® PlayBook™ — a new app that delivers popular features of Facebook, optimized for the 7″ high resolution, multi-touch LCD display of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

“There are over 30 million users of our Facebook for BlackBerry smartphones app who are staying in touch with their social network while on the go,” said Tom Goguen, VP, Collaboration and Social Networking at Research In Motion, “Now with Facebook for BlackBerry PlayBook we can also offer customers highly engaging social experiences optimized for the PlayBook including the ability to share FaceBook pictures and videos with friends and family on an HDTV.”

Facebook for BlackBerry PlayBook offers users a highly engaging experience by integrating popular features and functionality of Facebook including;

• 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 Facebook for BlackBerry PlayBook application will be showcased this week at BlackBerry World 2011 ( in Orlando, FL and is expected to be available on BlackBerry App World™ in May.