RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook launched this week, on the 19th, in WiFi only configuration and my 32GB model from Best Buy arrived yesterday. As linked to below, a few other ZDNet bloggers wrote about the PlayBook, but I wanted to give you a quick video walkthrough of the device, user interface, and included applications. I have a lot more planned to cover the device, but think the 7 inch form factor and easy connectivity with BlackBerry smartphones may make this a very attractive solution for enterprise customers.
As you can read in most of the reviews I linked to reviewers were very pleased with the hardware and most concerns seemed to be with the lack of apps and native email client. I agree that RIM needs to get more apps out very soon, but there is currently several default apps on the device to keep you busy for a bit. The web browser is very good so you can do most anything you want through the browser until apps are released. Unfortunately, sites like Slingbox and Hulu do not work, even with flash support in the browser.
Several reviewers commented on the small, flush power button, but once you turn on the device there really is no need to use the button unless you want to reset your device. You see, gestures are supported on the PlayBook so all you need to do is slide your finger from one bezel across to the other. You can go up/down, down/up, right to left, or left to right to turn on the display. You can then set the timeout and just let the display turn off from 10 seconds to 5 minutes.
You can use gestures to "throw" apps off the screen to close them, switch between running apps by sliding right or left, go to the home screen by sliding up from the bottom bezel area, and more. I recommend watching the tutorials on how to use the device during initial setup. I also recommend you check out all of the excellent coverage on the PlayBook over at CrackBerry.com.
I was pleased to see apps such as Kobo for ebook reading, Slacker Radio for streaming music content, Need For Speed for fast racing, Documents To Go apps, and the Podcasts application. The 7digital Music Store looks interesting and I need to check it out more to see if music purchased can be used on other devices too.
One thing I had to do to get the BlackBerry Bridge working on the evaluation BB Torch I have from AT&T is to download the installation file directly from CrackBerry.com since AT&T is currently blocking the application. The Bridge idea actually seems reasonable to me for contacts, tasks, calendar, and memos since I don't really see the need for these utilities on a tablet device as they are more useful on a smartphone. I do want to see a native POP/IMAP email client though, but for now am using Gmail in the browser.
Please let me know if you have any questions on the device and I will put together a Q&A post for next week.
Related coverage on ZDNet:
- Four pleasant surprises in the BlackBerry PlayBook
- RIM's Android compatibility for BlackBerry PlayBook and QNX will be a big game of chase
- BlackBerry PlayBook out of box experience