Facebook for BlackBerry v2.0 beta

Research in Motion (RIM) has announced Facebook for BlackBerry smartphones 2.0 beta. The Facebook app team at RIM has been working hard to incorporate feedback from users to make version 2.0 the biggest update to the Facebook app since we the version 1.0 release more than three years ago.

Facebook for BlackBerry

Here’s what’s new in the new 2.0 beta (you may also want to check out the Photo Gallery):

* Facebook Chat: you can now check to see which of your Facebook friends are online and start a conversation from within the Facebook app or within the unified mailbox on your BlackBerry smartphone. As long as your status is set to online, you will still receive notifications even the Facebook app is not open.
* Improved News Feed: new interactions enable you to scroll through your News Feed without accidentally clicking Like. The downside is that there’s an extra click required – on the More button (+) – to interact with your friends’ posts. On the upside, enhanced publisher functionality allows you to post photos to your Wall, add an update, or check in to a Facebook Place directly from the News Feed.
* New Navigation Control: the static navigation bar has been moved to a drop-down navigation control that is scalable for supporting new features in the future.
* Notifications Bar: borrowing from the Today View in BlackBerry OS 6, the notifications bar offers an easy way to access your Facebook Notifications, Messages, Friend Requests, and Facebook Chats from anywhere in the Facebook app.
* External Notifications: you don’t have to leave the app to see what’s new on your device. The BlackBerry smartphone external notifications header lets you see when you’ve received a new e-mail or BBM message without having to leave the Facebook app (as seen in the screenshot above).
* New Profile UI and Profile Information Viewing: the New Profile UI now provides Wall, Info, and Photo tabs. New to version 2.0 is the ability to view key information on Profiles and Pages, such as contact info, basic info, (like birthdays, hometown, and relationship status), likes, and interests.

Facebook for BlackBerry has well over 30 million monthly active users and approximately 21 million active daily users. I own a BlackBerry and for me, the Facebook app is second in usage only to BBM.

To get the new version, you’ll need to be a member of the BlackBerry Beta Zone. Since this is an early preview, RIM is only offering a limited number of beta spots. Furthermore, the initial beta release is only available to BlackBerry 6 users, although support for BlackBerry Device Software 4.6 and higher will be added in subsequent beta releases and will be available in the official version.

I personally had issues signing up to the BlackBerry Beta Zone as the site is currently being hammered. Are you a BlackBerry beta tester? If so, let me know what you think of this beta.