By Stephen Schenck | March 17, 2011 3:48 PM
Research In Motion has just released the beta version of its Facebook 2.0 app for BlackBerry devices, finally adding support for Facebook chats.
We first heard about the beta last month, with news that RIM was planning to make the first public beta available in the coming weeks. Members of the free-to-join BlackBerry Beta Zone can now access the app, though at this point the code’s only available for smartphones running BBOS 6; RIM will be adding support for devices down to version 4.6 by the time of the app’s final release.
Chat is arguably the biggest feature of this update, though it’s far from being the only one. There are UI changes across the app, presenting Facebook data in what RIM is hoping makes for an easier, more natural social networking experience. That means tabbed browsing through user profiles, a notification bar to keep you abreast of your fiends’ latest updates, and a drop-down navigation control giving you quick access to the various components of the app.
There’s also a tweaked news feed display to check out, hiding away post options when you’re just browsing the feed so as to not click anything inadvertently. While the aforementioned notification bar gives you Facebook-related updates while running the app, RIM additionally supports external notifications, so Facebook 2.0 can inform you when a new e-mail or BBM message comes in.
RIM didn’t provide any new estimated date for the final BlackBerry Facebook 2.0 release, so we’re assuming it’s still on-track for May.