BlackBerry PlayBook gets real today; AT&T blocking updates already

BlackBerry PlayBook gets real today; AT&T blocking updates already

Summary: Today the BlackBerry PlayBook becomes available for order from retail outlets and from RIM directly. The app that lets owners access email on tethered phones is available too, except for AT&T customers.


Today the BlackBerry PlayBook becomes available for order from retail outlets and from RIM directly. The PlayBook is RIM's enterprise tablet that the company hopes ushers in a new era of tablets and the new OS based on QNX. The PlayBook is available from Best Buy, OfficeMax, Office Depot and Staples, and from the RIM online store.

The PlayBook hasn't fared well in early reviews, primarily due to the lack of email, contacts and calendaring software native to the tablet. RIM has developed the BlackBerry Bridge app to deal with that, which lets owners tether the PlayBook to BlackBerry phones to access those phone apps on the BlackBerry. Unfortunately, word is spreading that those with PlayBooks are finding that while the BlackBerry Bridge app is available for download from the BlackBerry App World, those on the AT&T network are blocked. It seems this vital app is listed as not available yet for those on AT&T.

Most likely AT&T is not happy with the free tethering that the BlackBerry Bridge app enables for PlayBook owners. AT&T PlayBook owners can get the app via a roundabout method as detailed here, and hopefully the carrier will get out of the way and let its customers enjoy the full benefits of the product it is selling.

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Topics: BlackBerry, Hardware, Laptops, Mobile OS, Mobility, Tablets, AT&T

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  • Message has been deleted.

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      Will Farrell
  • get real

    playbook has better O/S and hardware. apps will be caught up by this time next year. no one likes carrying around an ipad.
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook gets real today; AT&T blocking updates already

      @fraze8888 Well I think at least 15 million people would disagree.
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook gets real today; AT&T blocking updates already

        Not sure they'd all disagree. The iPad's size is the main complaint I hear from my friends who sport them. Doesn't mean they don't like the iPad, but also doesn't mean they don't think it's too big.
        x I'm tc
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook gets real today; AT&T blocking updates already

      @fraze8888 ha ha ha ha! Thanks for the morning laugh... RIM RIP already!
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook gets real today; AT&T blocking updates already

        @browser. I truly hope that the Playbook indeed does not fare well on the market. That way I can hopefully snatch one of these devices up for a sweet price in half a year or so.
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook gets real today; AT&T blocking updates already

      @fraze8888 - yep, I hear ya. Every person I know that has an Ipad always has a complaint about it. "It's just a toy", "It's too large", "It's already obsolete" are common complaints I hear often.

      Such is the life of an Apple customer. Overpriced toys.
      • Apple must be doing something right.

        @j28n Everyone you know complains, yet they all paid top dollar, literally, for their "overpriced toys." It may be a Reality Distortion Field, but it's an effective one.
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook gets real today; AT&T blocking updates already

        @j28n iPad is definatly "just a large, obsolete, toy". Most people that own one definately spend more time carrying one around than they do using it :-) Especially outside.
        I've been using the train a couple of days last few weeks and only saw one (ONE !) person that actually used it on the train. I've seen many more carrying one though ...
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook gets real today; AT&T blocking updates already

      I stopped at a Best Buy and checked out the PlayBook.
      Surprisingly, it feels quite heavy for such a small form factor. Screen quality is good, can't say the same about user experience. Browsing a news website I turned the tablet to portrait mode, after about 2 seconds it switched. Turning the tablet back, it got stuck in portrait mode and wouldn't go back. After some vigorous shaking, I got it back in landscape.

      A customer asked the sales rep if it is possible to download a PDF file to the device through the Bridge.
      The answer was a resounding "YES" but when asked to demonstrate this, the sales rep could not.

      I'm not sure if I would spend $500 on this, maybe if this was the only choice.
      • They should train salespeople better

        @prof123 <br>I saw something similar happen at the Apple Store about two weeks ago where the "genius" (salesperson) had no clue how to operate a few of the basic programs or features in th iPad.<br><br>These companies need to train people better if they're going to be interfacing with the customers.
        Will Farrell
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook gets real today; AT&T blocking updates already

      @fraze8888 Hi @fraze8888,

      Alex from RIM here. Glad you appreciate the power and portability of the PlayBook. At 7-inches, 0.9 pounds and 0.4 inches thin, it also packs a serious punch, rocking the new QNX-powered BlackBerry Tablet OS, 1GB of RAM and a 1GHz dual-core processor. This creates an opportunity for true multitasking with apps running at full speed ? not suspended ? in the background. Its 1,024 x 600 high resolution display, mobile HD video recording and videoconferencing round out a 1080p multimedia experience that easily fits into a jacket pocket.

      This video also shows PlayBook?s HD capabilities in action (

      Alex, RIM Social Media Team
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook gets real today; AT&T blocking updates already

        @alexkinsella What apps? I would be seriously concerned about the future of my job if I worked for RIM job.
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook gets real today; AT&T blocking updates already

      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook gets real today; AT&T blocking updates already

        @alexkinsella ... I wasn't in the market for a playbook, but the smaller size of the viewable are was a bit of a disappointment to me. The quality of the display was excellent!! The OS I found quite easy to use and the bridge worked when I tried albeit on the second attempt. When it did I was impressed. I would like to see what this would be like in a larger screen. Before anyone cans this thing at least give it a try. No device is perfect, but I did like what I saw here. Hopefully there will be enough support to keep it viable.
  • General Design Paradigms and Functional Features for Slates/Smartphones

    Essential Design Paradigms and Functional Features for a Smartphone or a Slate!

    The only difference between a cellphone and a slate is that of size and this limits the functionalities of both the devices. If the limitations arising as a result of the size can be overcome through other means and incorporated into devices of the same sizes, then many if not most of the functions of smartphones and slates should overlap
    A Smartphone has to be convenient as a phone first, and a versatile multi-purpose device to fulfill your real and tangible needs second.
    A slate has to be a perfect slate first and phone through a hands-free feature.
    For this it has to offer convenient carriage, perfect ergonomics, an intuitive GUI, an adequate speed, and an exceptional battery life.
    With regards to dimensions; it should ideally have a width no wider than 2.25", a length no longer than 3"-4.5", and a width no higher than .10" to .30".

    For a tablet these dimensions could 5"(w)*7"(l)*.10-.30"(h) or 7"*9" * .10-40* or 7"*9"*.10-40" or 9-12"*12-14"*.10-.40". The manufactures would need to try these out for convenience/difficulty of carriage vis-a-vis the enhancement/diminishment of viewing experience against the backdrop of battery life and the functionalities required by a particular niche. These of course would be carried and viewed in the portrait mode for all purposes apart from reading/browsing, because of which they need to be tried out in both the portrait and landscape modes.

    For surfing and messaging, an onscreen keyboard is more than sufficient. Only power users who happen to be into extensive and word and spreadsheet processing would require a sliding or folding out keyboard to maximize the available screen area for viewing - but then, these people might prefer slates or laptops instead!

    The main camera should be at least 8-10 MPX, while the video-conferencing one should be around 5 MPX and either located close to the screen or else on an extensible antenna-like platform.
    The minimum battery life for a Smartphone should be at least 3 to 7 days, while that for a slate at least 11- 24 hours. For this the casing itself can be made of a battery. For the best possible signal strength and the minimum possible inconvenience the antenna can be coiled inside the phone along the two axis for a satisfactory Omni-directional reception

    Some features for a multi-purpose cellular handset for the future that might make the phone a compelling buying proposition through its ability to deliver services that would transform your personal and professional lives.

    The navigation would have a trackball generating its own kinetic-energy or a touch-pad relying on ambient lighting for its solar energy. It could also have a mouse moving in between two discs.

    The same device could also use taps on the screen for navigation, display, and sizing. If you use taps the other navigation devices would seem redundant and the entire screen area could be dedicated to the screen.

    It would also be easy to incorporate a voice- activated menu within this and even have the system repeat the menu choices aloud to ensure proper selection.(Some of these features can also be incorporated into an infotainment system for vehicles with the stereo, cell phone, GPS, traffic management, and computer systems merged into one comprehensive system utilizing the same set of speakers and microphones and the same display console (You could have three buttons on the steering wheel-one for choosing the menu, another one for voice-commands, and a third one for selection- you could even have a keyboard beneath the horn, active only in the parking mode. All of these systems can be made compliant with the relevant regulatory regime)).

    All of these would have features incorporated into them in order to make navigation easy and offer a host of other functions to automate the monotonous aspects of people?s lives to create time for work and fun.
    The kernel for the operating system would be modular in nature with remote agents for the modules already loaded, but the additional DLL and system files loaded whenever needed. This would keep the kernel light yet full functionally.
    The GUI would be through an artsy and intuitive interface with a help menu for each item on the interface.
    The cellular device should also be able to hook into your home network and provide you with functionality through your home network, it should be able to slide into a cradle for your vehicle?s infotainment system or an aircraft?s entertainment systems and provide you with functionality through that, and finally they should be able to provide you with standalone functionality. The functionality or services provided on its own through the internet, the vehicle?s, and the home?s network should include the following features and services.
    The ability for all the calls and messages from your cellular phone to be transferred to your landline and shown on your television console whenever you place your cell phone in its cradle along with the ability for calls from your landline to be directed to your cell phone whenever its

    For example, the handsets of the future would interact with the Wi-Fi networks at hospitals, shopping malls, offices or other such facilities to aid navigation, thereby making trips to the help desk unnecessary; negotiate with cash counters and ticket machines to make payments, hence replacing the credit card; take a person?s biometric-id to help the person gain access to his/her bank or stock account, vehicle, and premises ? thereby making passwords and keys redundant; and enable a person to book restaurant, opera, and sports seats and to also automatically place orders from the menus at restaurants ? thereby reducing the time spent interacting with staff.

    They?ll also have the capacity to start one's vehicle or the cooling and heating systems in one?s vehicle and premises, put on one?s T.V or radio as a wake-up alarm, and start one?s coffee machine by having all of these integrated through a Virtual Private Network.

    They?ll block different groups of callers at different times of the day and provide certain special-callers with the ability to either leave text or voice messages or even bypass the don?t-disturb feature to talk to the person directly in the event of an emergency (despite his/her decision not to be bothered at the particular instant).

    They?ll incorporate an emergency button, which will send one?s GPS coordinates to the nearest emergency facility by using the IP table of the network to find the center closest to the person in times of a medical emergency, a criminal threat, or the theft of his/her vehicle, etc.

    They?ll provide a person with the nearest public-transportation options along with the time of arrivals and departures of the vehicles, depending on his/her GPS coordinates, and even inform a vehicle to make a scheduled stop for the person or else call a cab for him/her.
    They?ll also enable people to look for product or service availability in stores and offices and then plan one?s journey from destination to home or from to destination in such a way to help him/ her perform the chores on the way. They would of course also have the functionality to just plan trips to and from these locations.
    They should hook people up on dating sites, then synchronize their scheduled date on a calendar and inform the parties of the precise time of arrival.
    They should provide the means to buy all soft products like films, music and books online through an account.
    They should also offer the facility to look for, reserve, and hard products online and have them delivered home.
    They should provide access to soft-copies of magazines on different aspects of life style.
    They should provide you with the following services through your home network.
    1- Wake-up, calendar, traffic, travel, weather, stock (alerts for threshold levels set for buying, selling, options, and futures upon specified appreciation or depreciation levels), bank (low balance, withdrawal, deposit, and bill reception/payment alerts), and visitor alerts (along with the video of your visitors at the front door) alerts.
    2- Email, messaging, social, telephone, collaborative, and television programming notifications.
    3- Notifications from your oven and washing machine upon completion of tasks.
    4- The ability to configure your climate control system, lighting system, and sprinkler system from a central control. This would be along with the ability to start and warm up your car and adjust the climate control system inside it.
    5- The ability to direct audio to speaker to any place in your house; for example your lawn, pool, lounge, bedroom, etc.). Along with the ability to direct video to any console within your house.
    6- The ability for all the calls and messages from your cellular phone to be transferred to your landline and shown on your television console whenever you place your cell phone in its cradle along with the ability for calls from your landline to be directed to your cell phone whenever its lifted from its cradle. You?d of course be provided with an option whether you want a specific feature activated or not.
    7- The ability to summon your kids from their rooms by having the summons delivered to whatever gadget that might be ON at the time; the stereo, the T.V, the computer, cell phone, or the speakers in the toilets, or other living areas. To also to set the wake up and lock out timings for your kids and monitor their room, check their homework and assignment submissions, and grades, etc.
    8- The ability to check for groceries and other shopping items online, to have alerts set for their price levels, to have these reserved on the payment of a reservation fee whenever they drop to below a certain price level or before a specified date, or delivered home upon the payment of the price, etc.
    9- The incorporating of a biometric id into the home network and all the sites accessed by it or all the gadgets and services accessed through it. Towards the attainment of this goal, each user can be identified by a random id derived from an equation using known variables from his/her different biometric ids (fingerprint, iris, arterial, skeletal, electromagnetic, voice, and thermal ids(these would have a range instead of a single value)) and other unknown random variables peculiar to the site/gadget (to enable a person to use the same biometric id for all the sites/gadgets, and yet for each site/gadget to have a different version of his/her biometric id to prevent the possibility of identity theft or id abuse). This, again, would be known only to the system (and not even the system administrators).
    10- A calendar system: The heart of the home network.
    A secure Calendar Server that would perform all authentication for different categories of home and online users, and then provide every higher hierarchy with the privilege to modify the calendar of a lower hierarchy and for the lower hierarchy to receive a message on its calendar asking for permission to incorporate or negotiate the changes - the messaging related to appointments should be incorporated into the calendar, it shouldn't have to take place through the email or messaging systems
    These devices should be able to log into social portals and provide you with the following services through them.
    1- The provision of age, sex, relationship status, aspirations, inspirations, needs, wants, likes, dislikes, fantasies, mentor, and icon information along with the provision of information regarding people, books, ideologies, stories, music, and movies that left the greatest impression on a person and shaped his/her personality, values, ideal, and lifestyle.
    The purpose of this would be to provide everyone with information tailored to his/her specific needs that would be a win-win situation for both these people in terms of the fulfillment of their needs and for the advertisers in terms of the delivering these needs.

    2- The purpose of the exercise isn?t intended to collect information about a person that could be used in a manner detrimental to any facet of the life of that person. Toward this goal, each user was supposed to be identified by a random variable known only to the system (and not even the system administrators) to separate his/her ID from his personal information in order to prevent identity theft or the abuse of his/her personal information.

    3- The need for each user to have the discretion to share what he/she wanted with a particular person or a particular group of people was also supposed to be incorporated into the interface through a Privacy Settings drop-down list that would enable each person to select if he/she wanted to share information with a specific person such as his/her romantic partner or a group of people such as his best friends, his old classmates, his work colleagues, his team colleagues, his immediate family (and each member within it), his extended family (divided into different subgroups), the friends of his friends, or everyone. This feature should also be available for the posting on comments on other people?s postings.

    4- To bring new people together through discussion groups based upon common interests, since the notion of a social network would be incomplete without having the ability to search for like-minded people and form new friendships and bonds with them.
    I had also suggested enriching the site with features that would let you also perform some of your leisure and work chores from that site like the payments of the different bills( for values below a certain threshold), the booking of seats/tables/merchandise (at restaurants and cultural events, on transportation media, department stores), the synchronizing of your calendar (through a secure calendar server), the purchase of merchandise, the option to store your precious files and photos online, the ability to interface with other sites for your work/leisure chores (and to collaborate with other people on these through video conferencing, messaging, calendars, and whiteboards).
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook gets real today; AT&T blocking updates already


      Holy Talkback, Batman!
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook gets real today; AT&T blocking updates already


        My thoughts exactly (Grin) .. but at least his comments were intelligent and absolutely quite comprehensive.
    • Job application?

      So Khushal69, are you auditioning for a blog job?