Because Apple has such a big lead in the still developing tablet computer market, challengers need their tablets to be different from the iPad in meaningful ways. The PlayBook from Research In Motion (RIM) does that most notably with the dependancy on Blackberry smartphones for email and calendaring functions, and today RIM announced another major difference from the iPad by announcing a Facebook app.


It is worth noting that RIM is the developer of the Facebook app for the PlayBook, just as they developed the Blackberry app, and not Facebook themselves. RIM obtained permission from Facebook to use the Facebook name and look and feel so that the app is consistent with the “official” Facebook mobile apps. Microsoft did the same thing to develop the Facebook app for Windows Phone 7. Practically, this makes the PlayBook the first tablet to have an officially licensed Facebook app.

According a blog post on RIM’s web site, the Facebook app for the PlayBook will have the basic Facebook functions, including the Facebook messages, newsfeed, chat, photo and video upload and viewing, and the ability to find and view friend information. Notably absent from the information provided by RIM is whether the app includes Places, Groups, and Events.

The Facebook app for the RIM PlayBook is being shown this week at Blackberry World 2011 in Orlando, Florida, and is available in App World. RIM has also announced a video chat application for the PlayBook that will be released this week. The PlayBook video chat app supports both voice and video calls over WiFi.