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BlackBerry PlayBook Review

Research In Motion officially announced their first tablet, BlackBerry PlayBook last year, after long-awaited BlackBerry PlayBook finally goes on sale April 19th in North America and today, 22nd June, 2011 in India. Featuring the all-new BlackBerry Tablet OS, the PlayBook sports a 7″ display that makes it the best portable tablet in the market.

With solid hardware specs, an operating system that utilizes a gesture-based user interface which I think the best of the best to control your BlackBerry PlayBook and I should say they did not waste even an inch on the face fo the Tablet. BlackBerry PlayBook’s true multitasking capabilities and a web browser that supports Adobe Flash gives you uncompromising web-experience.

Before I start following up with the BlackBerry PlayBook video tutorials, learn about some of the acquisitions relevant to the BlackBerry PlayBook:

  • QNX – makers of the powerful MicroKernal QNX Neutrino operating system upon which the BlackBerry Tablet OS is built
  • Torch Mobile – WebKit browser gurus who fixed up BlackBerry’s traditionally poor web browsing experience
  • The Astonishing Tribe – Creative geniuses and UI experts who, while arriving a little late on the PlayBook project, helped shape some of the aspects of the user experience and will play a much larger role in this moving ahead (a company called Teknision is responsible for a lot of the user interface design on the PlayBook).
  • Dataviz – While RIM didn’t buy DataViz outright, they bought a lot of their talent and assets including Documents To Go, which allows for Word, Excel, Powerpoint creation and editing (the premium version of these apps are included free on the PlayBook)

BlackBerry PlayBook Hardware –

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  • 7″ LCD, 1024 x 600, WSVGA, capacitive touch screen with full multi-touch and gesture support
  • BlackBerry Tablet OS with support for symmetric multiprocessing
  • Texas Instruments OMAP4430 Processor, Dual Core @ 1GHz
    • IVA 3 hardware accelerators enable full HD 1080p, multi-standard video encode/decode
    • Faster, higher-quality image and video capture with digital SLR-like imaging up to 20 megapixels
    • Dual-core ARM® Cortex-A9 MPCore with Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP)
    • Integrated POWERVR SGX540 graphics accelerator drives 3D gaming and 3D user interfaces
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Memory: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions to be available
  • 5300mAh battery
  • Dual HD cameras (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing), supports 1080p HD video recording
  • Video playback: 1080p HD Video, H.264, MPEG, DivX, WMV
  • Audio playback: MP3, AAC, WMA
  • HDMI video output
  • GPS and Wi-Fi – 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • Connectors: microHDMI, microUSB, 3.5mm headset port, charging contacts
  • Open, flexible application platform with support for WebKit/HTML-5, Adobe Flash Player 10.2, Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Reader, POSIX, OpenGL, Java
  • Ultra thin and portable:
    • Measures 5.1″x7.6″x0.4″ (130mm x 193mm x 10mm)
    • Weighs less than a pound (approximately 0.9 lb or 400g)

The Dual Core processor and 1 GB RAM make the BlackBerry PlayBook so comfortable to handle a lot of processes running at a time, a true multi-tasking. The size of 7″ display with an HD aspect ratio (16:9). At 5.6″ tall and 7.6″ wide, the PlayBook is small enough to fit in many coat pockets, purses, handbags, etc. The stereo speakers, dual camera with HD video recording and stereo microphones makes BlackBerry PlayBook more entertaining device.
The BlackBerry PlayBook has only 4 buttons placed on top of the device. Power button, Volume Up, Play/Pause, Volume Down keys. Also on top, they’ve places dual microphones and headset jack.
At the bottom of the device, micro-HDMI (left), USB connector for charging or PC synching and last port is a three pin connector which is for mounting the BlackBerry PlayBook to the BlackBerry PlayBook Rapid Charging Stand. You will notice your Serial Number of the Tablet at this face.

BlackBerry Mini Keyboard

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This video introduces the BlackBerry Mini Keyboard, a Bluetooth keyboard accessory for your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. The BlackBerry Mini Keyboard allows you to gain more screen real estate and leverage key business apps like the Citrix Receiver for BlackBerry PlayBook tablets. Check out the video to view the scenario of a mobile workforce in action!

Battery Life

As to my personal experience, I feel the battery of the BlackBerry PlayBook keeps getting better as we use it. I always let it drain and charge the whole night to 100% for optimizing the battery life as to my knowledge and I guess it works. Once it gave me 23 hours of battery life which amazed me but never got that performance ever after. My usage then was Internet browsing over tethering and writing documents, BlackBerry Bridge. It did not include any games playing but still that was pretty impressive. Normally I give a 8 hour battery life with continuous browsing, using apps, downloading and also including good amount of time playing the Need for Speed: Undercover which come pre-loaded with the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Camera and Video Recording

BlackBerry PlayBook has the best camera on any tablet now, I can bet on that. The rear camera with 5 Megapixel and HD video recording give out very impressive results of pure 1080 pixels. The front facing camera is also HD recording with 3 megapixel which is also very good for Video Chat on BlackBerry PlayBook.

BlackBerry PlayBook Video Test – 1080p: for mobile viewing pleasure

PlayBook party in Chicago. Video from PlayBook itself

Bluetooth Fun: Controlling the PlayBook w/ Mouse and Keyboard

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With Bluetooth support you can wirelessly connect your PlayBook to an array of different devices. We already mentioned audio devices above, but you can also pair with input devices, such as a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. It turns out the BlackBerry Tablet OS has full mouse support! Check out the video below where I connect the PlayBook to a TV via HDMI then control it from across the room via a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. It’s pretty crazy! As you’ll note in the video, at first I couldn’t figure out how to do gestures with a mouse – it turns out you go to the edge of the display and hold down the right mouse button and then swipe. I’m not sure this is a feature I’d use on a regular basis, but it definitely shows off some of the power in the platform. –

Video Chat

BlackBerry PlayBook video chat runs over WiFi and can even plug-in to HDTV and chat in real HD. Thanks to multitasking feature, any party can work around the device while keeping the conference on-air.

Mike Lazaridis, CEO at RIM tells more about Video Chat

  • Video Chat is maintained in the cloud and utilizes the RIM NOC
  • Initialized from the cloud but once connected is point-to-point
  • Developers will gain access to API that will allow integration with BBM Social Platform
  • Uses BlackBerry ID to locate friends and contacts
  • Will work behind corporate and individual firewalls
  • Newly developed SIP based system acts as he controller

Main Menu

The first screen hold all contacts & functional icons above. Video Chat application chats over BlackBerry ID & for those willing to call on telephone, unfortunately it won’t work.

Options Panel

Slide-down options panel enables to edit contact list & also provides help.


The top-left corner consist of three icons Video Chat, Audio Chat & Do Not Disturb. Each icon perform their respective task. Switching on ‘Do Not Disturb’ icon will keep the user engaged.

Adding a Contact

Adding a contact is simple. Just a BlackBerry ID input can put your conference alive right away :)

BlackBerry PlayBook Software

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BlackBerry PlayBook Gestures

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BlackBerry PlayBook Multitasking

BlackBerry PlayBook Multitasking: for mobile viewing pleasure

BlackBerry PlayBook Kick-ass multitasking [Video]

BlackBerry Browser:

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Browser Tabs

Browsing on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet

Browsing the web using the BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet is a great experience, as you can enjoy the best of the web on its beautiful display. Today I’d like to share five tips that I’ve been using since I got myBlackBerry PlayBook tablet on launch day!

Tip 1 – Search using the Address Bar

Browsing on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet

Instead of visiting your favorite search engine website to perform a search, you can just type whatever you are looking for in the address bar and press the Enter key to perform an automatic search. You can change which search engine is used by swiping down the top bezel while using the browser and selecting “Options”. Within this menu, you’ll have the option of changing which search engine your browser is automatically using.

BlackBerry PlayBook Browser: Browser Tabs – for mobile viewing pleasure

How to update your BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet OS:

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BlackBerry Bridge over BlackBerry PlayBook:


BlackBerry Bridge now with BlackBerry Remote:

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How to Bridge Smartphone & Tablet

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The BlackBerry Bridge feature is beyond amazing. This connects your BlackBerry Smartphone with the PlayBook and enables usage of Messages, Contacts, Bridge Browser, Calendar, BBM, MemoPad, Tasks & Bridge Files. The sync is secured as the whole data of smartphone is temporary on the PlayBook. It removes the moment pairing is switched off. So a BlackBerry PlayBook is a multi-user device working safely without worrying about sharing any individual data.

Bridge Applications

Messages application brings all your mails on PlayBook & can even perform various functions like Reply, Forward etc. directly from the tablet itself. You can also attach PlayBook/smartphone files in a mail.
This sync all your connected smartphone address book/contacts to your PlayBook. You can view contact details & can even edit details which also automatically changes on the phone.
You can view all upcoming events or meetings right on your BlackBerry PlayBook. Any changes made will sync back to BlackBerry Smartphone.
BBM: (Click here for images)
Yes! Blackberry PlayBook has the BlackBerry Messenger. The large screen BBM is always a dream to any. The data transfer works on bluetooth itself by flowing PlayBook input data to connected smartphone & then hits the network.
Notepad for BlackBerry PlayBook featuring live sync to the smartphone.
Browse your tasks directly on PlayBook or create new ones on both BlackBerry devices at once.
Bridge Files:
Bridge Files enables to browse documents on PlayBook saved on your smartphone. It is expected to feature media files as well in later updates.

Bridge 2.0 Updates

  • Use your smartphone’s keyboard, trackpad and touchscreen to remotely control your Playbook™ tablet*
  • Open attachments, files and Browser URLs directly on your PlayBook™ tablet from your BlackBerry® smartphone’s menu
  • Copy/Paste from anywhere in BlackBerry® Bridge PlayBook apps
  • Use Device Properties menu to turn on and off BlackBerry® Bridge™ email, calendar, and address book accounts
  • Improved stability with multiple pairing and connectivity bug fixes
  • Various UX improvements

*Note: Bridge Remote Control feature requires BlackBerry® Tablet OS v2.0 to be installed on your tablet.

Smartphone Tethering on BlackBerry PlayBook:

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Any brand smartphone can tether to BlackBerry PlayBook. Be aware of tether plans provided by your carrier


* 3G/4G models of BlackBerry PlayBook will release this summer

BlackBerry PlayBook Commercials

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Buy Blackberry PlayBook >>

 * MRP Prices

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  1. Hey, Could anyone help me to find out the solutions of following questions? I am hoping to buy a Blackberry playbook. but I am facing some questions for ipad-2—–
    1. I am a heavy internet user. but in my country (Bangladesh) WiFi is not widely available. What we have are Wimax, Cell phone network internet like Airtel or Grameen phone, Broadband. I have heard that, except WiFi, some facilities for using internet is either slow or unavailable for Blackberry playbook. Is this true?
    2. Can I use Internet download manager for Blackberry Playbook?
    3. Can I use Microsoft office for Blackberry Playbook?
    4. 3G is not available in my country. May be we need at least 1 year to hit 3G. So do I need to buy 3G Blackberry Playbook, if extra facilities available?
    4. All I do through my netbook(atom processor) are browsing, audio & video-movie entertainment, presentation, dictionary, skype & multitasking etc
    5. I always prefer Blackberry phone. Actually I’m looking for right combination of mobile+tablet/netbook. So, can Blackberry playbook serve all my needs what I have mentioned earlier? More specifically, which combination is better for me in terms of data plan+ above condition in Bangladesh? Blackberry mobile(I’m already a user)+ipad-2? Blackberry mobile+ Blackberry playbook? or Iphone+ipad-2? I have also thought about Windows tablet- Acer Iconia Tab-W500, but can I install Windows 8 by formatting Win 7?
    Please do care to answer all of my questions. After your suggestion, I’ll decide to buy. Because I know how they works but I don’t know the internal or hidden info of these devices.

    Dhaka, Bangladesh

  2. Hello Rezvan
    1) Not true! BlackBerry Bridge is the best feature that enables you to use your current BlackBerry Smartphone data on PlayBook over Bluetooth pairing. You can browse web & use apps with the available internet speed on mobile
    2) You MAY(not sure) find similar IDM apps over App World
    3) There are many MS Office alternative native or android apps to cover that issue; Android Apps made on Adobe SDK works on PlayBook.
    4) We haven’t received official info on Pb 3G yet. But rumors say it will have of course SIMslot, NFC & 1.5GhZ processor. In my opinion, if you are a BlackBerry owner itself, the Bridge will cover up 3G Pb. Why pay 2 SIMs bill?
    5) Everything you listed can be amazingly done on PlayBook unlike other non-Real multitasking tablets
    6) With Bridge 2.0 (i have updated this post now, you can see Bridge 2.0 video above) now you can
    – Use your smartphone’s keyboard, trackpad and touchscreen to remotely control your Playbook™ tablet
    – Open attachments, files and Browser URLs directly on your PlayBook™ tablet from your BlackBerry® smartphone’s menu
    – Copy/Paste from anywhere in BlackBerry® Bridge PlayBook apps
    -Use Device Properties menu to turn on and off BlackBerry® Bridge™ email, calendar, and address book accounts
    (see video demo here – )

    iPhone & iPad cannot pair internet data. If you haven’t got 3G & have less access of WiFi, buying iPad makes no sense

  3. First of all, Many many many Thanks to you for your reply. You’re really so helpful. I just missed your reply. I apologize for being late.
    I have read your reply, but again it arises some question. Am I trouble you,if I ask you further. If you don’t mind Please let me ask these question.

    1. As there is no SIM slot for 2.5G in BB Pb; WiFi & 3G are not available in Bangladesh, How I’m supposed to surf internet if my data plan is limited?Because Airtel Bangladesh charge huge only for 1 GB data plan. BB data plan in Bangladesh is not like India. 🙁 Without WiFi what facilities do Playbook has got to use internet?

    2.Can I use internet in playbook, just like google chrome or firefox in pc or laptop?

    3.For access windows live email, what should I do in playbook? Can’t I use Pb browser to access windows live email like Chrome in laptop?

    4.Can I downlood anything from Internet using playbook like pdf or word file,third party software like what we do in laptop or netbook.

    5. There is a lot saying that ipad app, BB app, Android app. I heard that BB has less app,thats why it’s not good. I’m wondering as BB has got browser, so can’t I access everything like what we do in laptop. So, why I need apps. Could you please explain this?

    6. I’ve heard that, BB Pb supports less video format. But I just use my laptop only for browsing and entertains and for English movie I need subtitle. Is there any option to see movie with subtitle like what we do with KMP or VLC player.

    7. I know playbook have USB port+ Bluetooth. So, can I use these technology to get song & movie into my device with pen-drive or other Bluetooth device?

    There is some Basic question–what I normally do in my netbook.You just give me Yes-No answer.
    a. Can I access pdf file in Playbook? ,
    b.Can I use Dictionary?
    c.For Zip file what type of software support I need in Playbook?
    d. I have BB Bold 9780, can I use it in Presentation for swap the slides.
    Please Bro, Give me these answer.I hope you can figure my condition. Don’t consider me as an Businessman or anything. Consider what I have said before & what I need.


    • 1. with Bridge, you can use Browser, 90% of apps that needs internet, Email client almost everything! THIS feature is not available in any other platform. And about data limitations, the playbook & phone shares mutual SIM. the phone & playbook is dependent on same data
      2. If you’re talking about browser, Yes! And PlayBook holds the best HTML5 powered browser in tablets
      3. Yes! you can use browser for mails or better by configuring into Messaging app
      4. Yes! you can download ANYTHING that you can do on PC
      5. Less apps (10,000+ in App World) is what people are concerned about. You can absolutely perform PC browser tasks on PlayBook’s.
      6. Untrue! PlayBook supports the most video platforms including MKV natively. (audio: AC3 is not supported yet)
      7. You cannnot use a pen-drive on PlayBook. Though you can share files with paired BlackBerry phone
      Basic Answers
      a) Yes. All documents type files are supported
      b) Yes. Dictionary apps are available on App World
      c) There are many to operate ZIP format like Ghost Commander file manager etc.
      d) Yes you can use all blackberry smartphones running OS 5+ as remote.

      Let us know when you buy one 😉

  4. 1. So,you’re saying that I don’t need BB Internet Service (BIS) to surf internet. I can do that through my Bold tethering with Pb with normal GSM internet plan!!!! Am I right???

    2. In the laptop there is no app system. Laptop & pb both have got different but same powerful browser. If I can browse everything in laptop then Why I need app on Pb!!!!!!! Please let me know this answer. This is very important. Can’t I install third party software in Pb which I normally do in laptop??????????????????

    3. So, you’re saying that I don’t need to convert movie or video in compatible Pb format. But I have seen on this site ,they’re converting movie. then why????

    4. If I can’t use pendrive then what facilities Pb got to load movie or video song on my Pb? & what about subtitle, you didn’t answer this!!!

    I have already planed to buy Pb but since it has got some confusion so it’s eating time to remove this whther I’ve to go for android or Pb…since Ipad is not suitable for my country.

    Thanks!!!!! I’m waiting for your reply.

  5. See, my query is been reducing…..thanks for your favor.
    1. As you’re saying I can install windows app,then why I can’t install Internet Download Manager(IDM) & other windows compatible software?
    2. So, are you saying that just I need to connect with laptop,load movie,no need to convert if I don’t need to compress,caz normally I delete movie after seeing. What about AC3?
    3. What about subtiles, as you said I can run many format at Pb?

Written by Shahzoor Ali


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