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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Two high-res Facebook options for the iPad

8

September

I've had my iPad for about a month now and the more I explore the available apps the more I realize iPad-optimized, high-resolution apps are a must. Some apps, still only available in iPhone format, just fall apart on the large iPad screen. I have a few I can live with because I use them infrequently, but Facebook is one I use every day. Can you believe it? Facebook still has not released an official iPad app. When you use the iPhone version on the iPad it looks horrible.

facebook_iPad.PNG

So I set out to see if there were any better apps for accessing Facebook on the iPad. I found two, Friendly and Social. Both are better than the official Facebook app but neither is the perfect solution.

Friendly_Wall.PNG    Social_Wall.PNG

Both apps are a major upgrade from using the iPhone Facebook app simply because they are designed for the high-res iPad screen They both have clean interfaces for easy navigation, with Friendly using navigation tabs at the top and Social using a navigation toolbar at the bottom.

Friendly_Profile.PNG    Social_Profile.PNG

Friendly is missing a lot of functionality. You can't upload photos or create photo albums and you can't create events or notes. You also can't create a page or a group.

With Social you can't use the new Places location feature in Facebook and the chat feature has bare-bones features and is labeled "experimental." Despite those flaws, pretty much every other Facebook function is available. A cool, drop-down menu gives you shortcuts to post a new message, write a private message, upload a photo, create a photo album, create a group, create an event and create a page.

There is one really irritating thing about Social that gives me pause. When logging in you have to enter your Facebook information on two separate screens. The developers explain that the Social app uses a combination of the normal web page access to Facebook and the official Facebook API. This wouldn't be as irritating if the app would retain your login info but it doesn't do that consistently.

Both Friendly and Social display photo galleries very nicely. Friendly uses a nice slideshow interface which seems kind of odd, considering there isn't a way to create galleries or import photos though the app.

Friendly_Gallery.PNG   Social_Gallery.PNG

As I said earlier, both apps are a major upgrade from using the low-res iPhone Facebook app on the iPad. Friendly ($.99) is more of a Facebook browser with limited functionality and a very clean interface. Social ($1.99) has a clean interface too with almost all the functionality you have in the normal web version of Facebook. If they fix the irritating double login issue, Social will be the clear winner.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 8, 2010 4:32pm]

    

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