Hands-on video walkthrough of the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

Hands-on video walkthrough of the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

Summary: The BlackBerry PlayBook is now available for purchase and after several hours I think I might just have found my favorite 7 inch tablet.

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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:

Topics: BlackBerry, Browser, Hardware, Mobile OS, Mobility

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16 comments
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  • RE: Hands-on video walkthrough of the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

    At last a balanced and unbaised review...This not an Ipad, different functionality, different segment...Bravo
    Ejeff
    • Yes, different functionality and segment, but Matthew only had it for few

      @Ejeff: ... hours. After two full days, thing may not feel that well:

      <b>"A useless, unfathomable train wreck"</b>: today's Infoworld review of PlayBook.
      DDERSSS
      • RE: Hands-on video walkthrough of the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

        @denisrs You miss the point a few hours is no different then a few days....either you like something or you don't...as for the reviews,not everyone believes that when Steve Jobs farts that it is a symphony. The core of every editorial Pro or Con is that the equipment is rock solid, the QNX is bullet proof and a huge leap ahead of everything else out there, but the "diamond needs some more polish". The updates are coming as RIMM gets more input from the field,and unlike Ipad, a second version will not be needed in 10 months to correct hardware issues such as no cameras, which by the way they replaced with two crappy cameras, and still no stero speakers. The early buyers of the Playbook will get their $ worth and more over the next 60 days, and more importantly the market will have an alterntive for another niche in the infant tablet market, the race has only begun...50,000 units in the first day is translates into about 3 million units for the year,which is not shabby in anyway...hold off judgement until the 3g, 4g come out in the summer, all the baloney about the email,and calendar will be gone and the potential of the QNX software will come through....the original Iphone sucked wind in 2008....now look at it...
        Ejeff
      • RE: Hands-on video walkthrough of the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

        @ Ejeff
        "You miss the point a few hours is no different then a few days....[sic]either you like something or you don't...[sic]"

        Uw WHAT?!? those are two TOTALLY different time frames, any any number of issue can come out in a few days of use that you do not notice during the first few hours.

        "as [sic] for the reviews,not everyone believes that when Steve Jobs farts that it is a symphony."

        Howover, pretty much everyone believes the Playbook is a waste of money, and NOT ready for prime time.

        "The core of every editorial Pro or Con is that the equipment is rock solid, the QNX is bullet proof and a huge leap ahead of everything else out there, but the "diamond needs some more polish"."

        Bull. Most reviews say nothing of the kind. But please, provide a list of elements in the OS where QNX, based on a Unix-like kernel, is better than Android, based on a Unix-like kernel, or iOS, based on Unix.

        "The updates are coming as RIMM gets more input from the field"

        Though probable, this statement is HARDLY categorical.

        "and unlike Ipad, a second version will not be needed in 10 months to correct hardware issues such as no cameras"

        Hardware features are NOT hardware "issues.

        "which by the way they replaced with two crappy cameras, and still no stero speakers."

        And considering the use of the device, stereo speakers are that important why?

        "The early buyers of the Playbook will get their $ worth and more over the next 60 days"

        The early buyers of the iPad got their monies worth on day 1.

        "and more importantly the market will have an alterntive for another niche in the infant tablet market"

        The tablet market is ten years old.

        "the[sic] race has only begun...50,000 units in the first day is translates into about 3 million units for the year,which is not shabby in anyway...[sic]

        Um, no it does not. Except in fantasy math. opening sales numbers do not extrapolate like that. If they did, the original iPad would have sold over a quarter BILLION units.

        "hold off judgement until the 3g, 4g come out in the summer"

        Uh, you just said a second version is not necessary! Hate to break it to you, the Playbook does NOT have a 4G radio yet. So guess what. If you bought one now, you'd have to upgrade!

        "all the baloney about the email,and calendar will be gone and the potential of the QNX software will come through....[sic]"

        It is not baloney, it is the truth, and does not bode well for the platform.

        "the original Iphone sucked wind in 2008....now look at it..."

        No it didn't. but yeah, now look at it. The number one selling smartphone platform on EVERY carrier on the PLANET that has carried it.
        DeusXMachina
  • RE: Hands-on video walkthrough of the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

    I like Playbook, the only thing is guessing gestures and following those would take little time. In the case of iOS devices it is Home button would take you back, WP7, Windows button and back button would provide you navigating out of an app, and in the case of Android you have back button and home button. In the case Blackberry you have to guess the gestures or read the manual before attempting. Other than little issue with initial UX, Playbook is a nice Tablet and much better than froyo based Tablets.
    Ram U
  • Message has been deleted.

    InvisiTech
    • RE: Hands-on video walkthrough of the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

      @InvisiTech
      I checked it out at Best Buy and quite frankly, I was underwhelmed. The tablet seems quite heavy for its small size. The screen quality is good but the software is not there yet. The browser got stuck in landscape mode and wouldn't go back. The lack of apps is another problem. If they came out with this before the iPad, that would be a different thing. But with iPad out, who will spend $500 for a playbook when there is iPad.
      prof123
      • RE: Hands-on video walkthrough of the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

        @prof123 Someone who doesn't want to use itunes for simple things like uploading an mp3 file or someone who want to use the device in friends house to get a file but doesn't want to sync with his friend itunes and get this all files deleted.
        Chameleon81
      • RE: Hands-on video walkthrough of the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

        @chameleon81<br>"Someone who doesn't want to use itunes for simple things like uploading an mp3 file"<br><br>I.e., almost nobody.<br><br> "someone who want to use the device in friends house to get a file but doesn't want to sync with his friend itunes and get this all files deleted"<br><br>You mean someone who doesn't own an iPad, and just believes things they read online, and thus does not know that you do not need iTunes to do that.
        DeusXMachina
  • GREAT REVIEW!!

    Now can you please do a post about finding iPads??? there out of stock everywhere I got!! I really want to buy an iPad 2! Thanks!
    Hasam1991
    • RE: Hands-on video walkthrough of the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

      @Hasam1991
      You're a smart man.
      camcost
  • Typing?

    This device is presumably aimed at business users, yet there is no keyboard topic in the review? Please, this should be a starting point with pad devices.
    generalist1
  • RE: Hands-on video walkthrough of the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

    Until a table comes out that is more than $50 less than the ipad I dont see the point. I'll buy a playbook for $300.
    shettinger
  • Great Review

    I'm sold. The software will OBVIOUSLY have many coming updates; I'm sure RIM developers have healthy performance bonuses ahead of them to deliver missing items asap. The hardware looks absolutely solid. The 'missing app' whining is unbearable -- those complainers shouldn't buy one yet, simple enough :-) The comparisons to iPad are unfair IMHO. It's a Blackberry, NOT an iPad?!? Tablets SHOULD have diversity in form and function -- variety is the spice of life baby!
    john_kaufman
  • ipad2 orientation lock

    does the ipad2 still have that shitty hidden orientation lock like the ipad after it was updated. i mean seriously having a switch that locks it and then going no we dont think you want to use that like you have been so we will change it on you and wont give you a setting to change it back and not only that but we will put it in the most ridiculous place to get to and yes i will be buying the playbook because its just a nice peice of hardware that does everything i want and doesnt treat you like a baby. My mate has an ipad and when i last played around with one the only thing you could customise was the wallpaper and i mean i know that was a big thing for apple to let its customers do since it only took them how many generations of iphone to enable a feature that early nokias had.
    crackruckles
  • RE: Hands-on video walkthrough of the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

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