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My brief hands-on with the BlackBerry PlayBook

I was invited by RIM Singapore to give the new BlackBerry PlayBook a spin yesterday evening.  There were about three PlayBooks (final revision of the hardware) that were passed around, and I was able to spend about 10 minutes of hands-on-time with one.  Despite the fair bit of criticism it received this week, I happen to think that it would make a great tablet device.

Without regurgitating its technical specifications, here’s why I think RIM has gem on its hands:

  • Both rear (5MP) and front (3MP) cameras captures in 1080p HD
  • Able to output full 1080p video using standard micro HDMI
  • Full. Web. Experience – with Flash!
  • Wi-Fi only, but BlackBerry Bridge means I can still access the Internet but without having to pay for another 3G data plan
  • Superior gesture controls that eliminates the need for a “home” button
  • You get the same level of integration that the BlackBerry is renowned for
  • Incredibly smooth experience – graphical games and videos continue running smoothly even when minimized

Consider this, to access the home screen with row of running Apps on top, users simply have to swipe upwards (off-the-screen).  Doing the same from left-to-right (again off-the-screen) will let you switch to other Apps – I think RIM got it spot-on in terms of gearing the UI towards meaningful multitasking. To put it bluntly, this aspect of the PlayBook makes the iPad’s double-clicking of the home button look downright clunky and obsolete in comparison.

Now, I do admit that the PlayBook might have limited utility as a stand-alone tablet for non-BlackBerry users.  BlackBerry users, however, will find themselves with a tablet that dovetails perfectly with their smartphones in a very seamless manner.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch BlackBerry Bridge in action – there were no demo smartphone with the BlackBerry Bridge App installed.  Next time perhaps.

Anyway, I also penned my thoughts on why I think the PlayBook will succeed on FierceCIO:TechWatch.  Do check out Why the BlackBerry PlayBook will be a strong tablet contender.


  • jesse

    I just wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading both your post and article on tech watch. I myself am an avid blackberry follower and do not care if the playbook will have native email or bbm as I can just bridge/tether to my torch. I just wanted to thank you for your very well thought out intelligent articles.

  • Paul Mah

    @Jesse Thanks for leaving a comment. I won’t be able to get a PlayBook until it gets launched in Singapore (No dates from RIM at the moment). Do let me know how it works for you though! :)

  • steve

    i love the fact that I can get internet access via my bb torch for free. this tablet should pay off for itself in a year or so.

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