RIM's PlayBook has its coming out party for developers: No functional browser, hardware shines

RIM's PlayBook has its coming out party for developers: No functional browser, hardware shines

Summary: Research in Motion is talking about its PlayBook tablet a lot and showing off demos, but the company isn't giving developers much to work with just yet. The biggest deliverable needed: A functional browser.

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Updated: Research in Motion is talking about its PlayBook tablet a lot and showing off demos, but the company isn't giving developers much to work with just yet. The biggest deliverable needed: A functional browser.

RIM is holding powwows for enterprise developers and independent software vendors on Wednesday. These events are being held in New York, San Francisco and Toronto. We have a few moles on the ground at the events. Here are some key learnings thus far:

  • First, RIM still doesn't have enough PlayBooks to show off. RIM has about three or four units in New York with about 150 developers on hand. In other words, partners won't be leaving with PlayBooks to try out.
  • A PlayBook emulator with a functional browser won't appear until the end of December or early January. This item is no small issue since there are a lot of HTML5 developers in the house. Simply put, these HTML5 developers won't have any way to simulate a playbook.
  • Once that emulator is launched, RIM is planning a native developer kit for non-Flash apps and Java. Native SDK is C++/C with opengl 2.0, networking, data storage all native. The timeline here is similar to the other ones: January 2011.
  • RIM is planning a Web development platform that will ship next year called WebWorks. The approach is similar to what Palm does with the webOS. The general idea is to produce Web apps that can run locally.
  • Unlike Android and taking a play from Apple's iOS, the PlayBook and the SDK are a black box. Developers cannot debug their apps to the extent they can on Android.
  • All native apps built into the device run on Adobe's AIR out of the box. RIM showed a mobile trading app with real-time data. Graphics were hardware accelerated. In addition, there was a real estate app showing prospective home buyers properties. All of the apps were business focused.
  • If you have a functional AIR app on Android it will just run on the PlayBook by recompiling it in Flash Builder. The rub: AIR apps can be tough to port, says one developer. BlackBerry's biggest developers are unlikely to use AIR. Those BlackBerry developers are likely to wait until January or February when the BlackBerry OS kit is available. In a nutshell, you'll have AIR apps early and Java developers will hold back.
  • The PlayBooks on scene in New York lack a functional browser. Developers can't browse the Web via a PlayBook. The browser is coming in January.
  • RIM is reiterating details that were previously announced for the most part. There will be three PlayBooks, 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. There's also a 1Ghz processor and the multitasking looked smooth overall. Tabs are used in the interface instead of folders.
  • The hardware up close looks really good. Any developer submitting a PlayBook app to App World prior to launch gets a free tablet.
  • So far, there are 50 apps in the PlayBook app store. These apps are based on Adobe's AIR.
  • The strength of the PlayBook is hardware. From a developer: The PlayBook has very nice glass similar to the iPad. The build quality is better than current Android tablets on the market.

We'll have more as we get information. In the meantime, RIM co-CEO Mike Lazardis highlighted the PlayBook at the D: Dive into Mobile conference. Here's the video:

Related:

RIM's PlayBook: 3.3 million units a smidge more than a year from now?

Topics: Software Development, Mobility, BlackBerry, Tablets

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22 comments
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  • RE: RIM's PlayBook has its coming out party for developers: No functional browser, hardware shines

    This looks interesting. Its a shame they don't already have a Java SDK available for developers. Adobe Air only, seriously? A free PlayBook isn't worth having to screw with the Adobe development train wreck.
    Tiggster
    • RE: RIM's PlayBook has its coming out party for developers: No functional browser, hardware shines

      @Tiggster Exactly right.
      nicholas22
    • RE: RIM's PlayBook has its coming out party for developers: No functional browser, hardware shines

      @Tiggster Well, the Flash community is all excited about the Playbook. Also any app can easily be compiled to then work on the iPad or Android tablet. Then modify the size and get it working on iPhone & Android devices.
      Matt_Fabb@...
    • RE: RIM's PlayBook has its coming out party for developers: No functional browser, hardware shines

      @Tiggster I might take a wacky at it for a free tablet.
      Jimster480
  • So, sometime in January

    RIM will deliver a "functional browser" for its CrackPad and Apple will announce the iPad2.<br>This is not competing. This is embarrassing for RIM.<br>And, 50 apps! Wow, I am impressed&iexcl;
    davebarnes
    • RE: RIM's PlayBook has its coming out party for developers: No functional browser, hardware shines

      @davebarnes I'd rather have the 50 I care about, like email, calendar, social than a million ones I don't care about.
      nicholas22
      • RE: RIM's PlayBook has its coming out party for developers: No functional browser, hardware shines

        @nicholas22 : correction, you DO need the f@rt apps. Don't deny it.
        nomorebs
      • RE: RIM's PlayBook has its coming out party for developers: No functional browser, hardware shines

        @nicholas22

        Glad to hear your perspective.
        We?re focused on providing tools that allow developers to build both professional and personal apps.
        Check out the Inside BlackBerry Developer?s Blog (http://devblog.blackberry.com) for more info and I encourage you to develop/submit your own!

        Cheers,
        Douglas from RIM
        @tron / @BlackBerry / @BlackBerryDev
        tr0ndizzle
    • RE: RIM's PlayBook has its coming out party for developers: No functional browser, hardware shines

      @davebarnes App World opened to PlayBook app submissions YESTERDAY! Even then, this is only for apps that have been developed with the beta SDK. We have no guarantee they won't require modification for the final release.

      ZDnet is wrong about the browser. Visit YouTube and you can find several demonstrations of it, they've showed it off every previous demo.

      The PlayBook's competition is the iPad 2, but unlike many of the Android tablets RIM is using hardware that can compete with the next generation of tablets. It's using the fastest processors and most powerful GPU they could find, they're so new the chips are only available in sample quantities, what more could you ask for?

      As for the OS, did you even watch the demo? It's obviously still in development, but also obviously significantly underway. Some apps are still buggy, it is a BETA, but it looks like it can become a real platform in the next 2-3 months.

      Congratulations, you've succeeded in displaying complete and total ignorance of the PlayBook. Please check facts so you don't look ridiculous.
      Taylor_z
    • RE: RIM's PlayBook has its coming out party for developers: No functional browser, hardware shines

      @davebarnes

      Is that a picture of you?

      With comments like this, I wouldn't show my real face if I were you.
      Intosh
  • If RIM wants to survive...

    they need to release Java/C++ native SDK with simulator for QNX platform ASAP. This is getting ridiculous! iPad2 will be available in early 2011, Android 3.0 may also be available sometime mid 2011 and RIM's java developers are sitting with hand folded. I'm not sure why Adobe AIR has gotten more importance than native SDK.
    xTalk
    • RE: RIM's PlayBook has its coming out party for developers: No functional browser, hardware shines

      @xTalk It's probably just to take a stab at Apple. I remember their presentation having "Flash support" as a core (top 5) feature.
      nicholas22
      • RE: RIM's PlayBook has its coming out party for developers: No functional browser, hardware shines

        @nicholas22 - That is great and all they want to take a stab at Apple, but not if they miss the tablet party.
        DustinU
      • RE: RIM's PlayBook has its coming out party for developers: No functional browser, hardware shines

        @nicholas22
        I hope all those Flash applications are sandboxed.
        ZackCDLVI
    • RE: RIM's PlayBook has its coming out party for developers: No functional browser, hardware shines

      @xTalk Well, it means companies & developers who have created AIR apps for Android and iOS can very quickly create PlayBook apps. So RIM is opening the door to a number of apps already developed for other platforms and are now ready to go for the PlayBook.
      Matt_Fabb@...
  • It amusing and plucky

    but RIM is out of their league. Everybody and their grandma has a tablet in the market. Only one has a real user base and ecosystem.
    HollywoodDog
  • Are you saying that the BB PlayBook is homoware??

    That would explain the "coming-out" party part ..... and the lack of functional browser.
    wackoae
  • RE: RIM's PlayBook has its coming out party for developers: No functional browser, hardware shines

    While Apple appears to be moving into the Enterprise market, I don't believe they still have the Enterprise presence RIM has. Generally, I find companies are slow to adopt new technologies -- especially companies that are severly security conscious. If they're used to RIM products already, then they're much more likely to buy a RIM-pad for their employees than an Apple -- at least that's how I see it.
    dvanderwerken
  • RE: RIM's PlayBook has its coming out party for developers: No functional browser, hardware shines

    Playbook is coming out? Is it gay?
    m3kw9
    • RE: RIM's PlayBook has its coming out party for developers: No functional browser, hardware shines

      @m3kw9

      Why do you want to know? Because you are?
      Intosh