Technology Tuesday: BlackBerry Playbook

On April 19, the long-awaited BlackBerry Playbook was released. I managed to wait two days before heading out to buy one 🙂 (Actually, I waited two days for my pre-release order to be delivered and when it didn’t arrive, I canceled the order and bought it locally.) In the ensuing two weeks, we’ve witnessed a couple of operating system updates, including one today, along with a flurry of applications, including Facebook.

Anyone who knows me knows that I prefer small devices, although it is possible for a device to be too small. That’s not the case here, as the PlayBook fits my hands perfectly. And after years of thumb typing on my BlackBerry, I’m getting pretty good at it 😉

One does not have to own a BlackBerry in order to use the PlayBook, although having one helps. The device at this time does not have the native PIM applications, although they are said to be coming. You can access internet-based email via the browser (which is awesome, by the way). For those with BlackBerries, there is a bridge application that reads your PIM apps off the phone. This is partially for security reasons as well: once the bridge is disconnected, those applications are no longer available on the PB itself. So your data is more secure. Think of it kinda like keyless entry on your car (something I’ve learned a lot about since buying a new car last week – but that’s another post).

RIM obviously had business users in mind with this device: today’s update includes not only the ability to read Word and Excel files, but also to edit them. But the device isn’t all business: Angry Birds is coming this summer. The PB boasts stereo speakers and the ability to play high definition videos. The demo video included is amazing.

This is not a perfect device by any means. After all, there is no Twitter app yet 😦 Like any first-generation device – it uses a new operating system based on QNX – there are going to be issues. So far, none of the issues I’ve encountered have been sufficient for me to want to return it. And once we have access to the Android applications (check out this presentation from earlier today), many of the gaps will be filled. Nevertheless, if you’re not into basically being a beta tester, I’d not recommend this device. Unless, of course, you need flash 🙂

My biggest gripe? Not being able to find another PB owner to test out the video chat app 😦


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