I have a confession: I am not a big Facebook user. I know this can get me thrown out of being a late-term gen-Xer and/or banned from geekdom, but there it is.
However, despite my best attempts, I can’t avoid using it entirely. Everyone I’ve ever met or ever will meet seems to have a Facebook profile, so I do my best to keep up on a semi-regular basis. I spend a great deal of time on my phone, so when Microsoft released a Facebook app for Windows Mobile I was very excited to review it. Will this make me a Facebook believer? Read on and find out.
On the surface, Facebook for Windows Mobile is very pretty. The interface looks great at 320×320, and it scales well up to the Redfly. No jagged edges or odd renders. Upon logging in, you are greeted with your friends’ news feeds. One downside: if Facebook was already running and you go in again, you’ll have to manually refresh the news feeds, they won’t automatically download.
Let’s say your friend posted a funny comment and you want to respond. Logically, you go to the “menu” softkey. Nope, no option to post a comment there. In order to comment on a status, you have to click on the comment, then select the pop out menu for “view profile”, then go to their wall, select the status comment and select “comment”. You have to EARN commenting on someone’s profile.
Sadly, you can’t view other people’s comments. Even worse, you can only see your comment inconsistently. Sometimes the application showed it, and sometimes it didn’t. It seemed like when the comments worked, they only showed the last comment, not the whole thread. And there’s no indication that there are comments on any status, so you don’t know what you are missing.
Similarly, you can view pictures where someone was tagged, but you can’t view tags or comments on the pictures. Basically, anything that relates directly to the “social” aspect of Facebook is a total fail. However, as a tool for you to interact with YOUR profile, it’s not terrible.
You can respond to messages in your inbox, change your status, and upload pictures and video. I did not test the video aspect, but I did upload a photo. It took less than 30 seconds and was fairly painless. Disappointingly, I couldn’t find any way to add a caption to the photo or tag it.
Status updates are very simple and straightforward once you figure out where the option to post them is buried (if you thought you should be randomly clicking like for comments, Microsoft fooled you! It’s hidden in the right softkey.)
One other nice touch was the ability to call up contact information, including mobile phone numbers where available. Clicking on a name gives you the option to call, send a Facebook message or send an SMS. Handy if you don’t already have the person’s mobile number!
Overall, this feels like a very unfinished product. It is helpful if you want to update your own profile, but if you really want to socialize and connect, you’ll find yourself constantly having to flip between the Facebook application and the mobile website. Hopefully further revisions will improve the app and bring it up to the slick level that the initial impression promises.
What I like: Looks very nice; Easy to update your own status; Easy to upload a photo; Quick access to facebook friend’s contact numbers
What Needs Improvement: Inconsistent interface; No access to comments; No social options (being able to vote “like” on posts, etc); Very limited compared to the mobile website.