BGR goes hands on with the BlackBerry PlayBook

By Adam Zeis on 8 Dec 2010 04:32 pm EST

In addition to our BlackBerry PlayBook video from earlier today, BGR got to check it out as well and delved a bit more into some unanswered questions. Here we get a near ten-minute look at the PlayBook in action and I have to say it keeps getting sweeter. Everything as of now looks so smooth and we can only hope it will be even better come launch. Some highlights include:

  • The entire bezel is used for navigating. Swipe the sides to get around system-wide. The top is available for specific actions within applications
  • Media playback is amazing. Start music in the media app (or Pandora/Slacker?) and drop it to the background as it continues to play. Same goes for videos as they will continue to play in the background when minimized
  • There are "views" much like BlackBerry 6 for navigating that can be swiped through
  • Swipe to move between views and apps, flick up to exit an app
  • Looks like you can open the keyboard by swiping up from the bottom left on the bezel

Overall some very cool stuff in what is probably the best look we've had at the device so far. No look at the web browser yet, but surely much more to come on this so don't go too far. We'll have plenty more in the coming weeks!

Source: BGR

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

BGR goes hands on with the BlackBerry PlayBook


I really really hope RIM is smart enough to give the device its own dedicated pin. I was disappointed when the RIM rep avoided answering that. I think it would be a huge benefit to have people be able to buy a pb, and experience BBM without having a BlackBerry ...

It would be cool to be able to BBM others outside of Blackberry. However, consider how many haters out there are saying that Blackberry is nothing but BBM, yet cry foul when something like Kik gets taken down.

If ALL Blackberry had to offer was BBM, then those haters should be able to shrug it off and carry on with their lives... oh wait... haters don't know what it means to carry on.

The whole point of tethering ur BBM on your playbook is simply for the bigger screen and a better experience. If it had its own specific pin chances are it won't be connected to ur current BB and msgs won't go through majority of the time which means its pointless. Also BB haters would have an excuse not to get a bb and to get the playbook instead with a lot more features instead. Which means RIM would not be selling enough Blackberry's. I think that RIM has don't a great job not assigning specific pins to the playbook for the sake of sales of the Blackberry smartphones. i'm currently in a business program which one of the courses offered is Marketing which enabled me to think from the consumers point of view. Trust me if RIM went on with assigning pins to the playbooks, we would have a lot more BB haters saying "why do I need to get a bb when I already have bbm on my playbook"

I can see the point of view you're coming from. However I strongly disagree. Even though it is yet to be confirmed, I do believe the pb will have a PIN. I think the reverse effect would be more probable, with people owning a pb, they will get addicted to bbm, and then if they don't already have a BlackBerry, they will want bbm on their hip at all times - just my opinion. PIN is at the heart of everything BlackBerry is... I just couldn't imagine them not having one for the pb.

I'm trying to think of the disadvantage of them including a PIN on the device and all I could come up with is that they may be working out the kinks with a pin specific to the device and the pin on your paired BB. Does that mean I need to give my contacts both pins or just the pin to my handheld? To me this may be the biggest issue and the reason for avoiding the question.

if they offer a pin for the device that means the device will need to be connected all the time in order for bbm to work. Think about this logically are you going to be tethered to ur playbook 24/7? Lets speak hypothetically you are using ur playbook bbm connected via wifi and once you are done you sign off and thats that. Now one of ur contacts tries to pin you on bbm well guess wut that pin won't make it through since the device has no solid connection.

Not only that, but WHICH device should BBM send the messages to, or do your contacts need to have 2 PINS for you and send them to both. Let's say you are out and about and get a BBM on your BB... what if you want to respond with the bigger and better keyboard on the PB... how would you link those apps together. It can all be solved programatically but it's quite complex and as anyone who has MSN messenger installed on more than one computer knows not always failsafe... I'm perfectly fine with the PB simply redirecting from the BB via tether until they get it perfectly solid.

I really can't wait. I wonder if they would make an app that would let me control my MacBook and my AppleTV directly on my PlayBook, that would be awesome!

While it is unlikely that there is an actual Official remote control interface, I don't think it would be too hard for one to cook up a web interface.
The Playbook looks really promising, I want to know what will Apple fans take a jab at next.

Ok, bring on the apple fan boys. Every time you see more of this I think it's getting harder and harder to deny how good it is. I'll hope over to the apple fanboy BGR to see if he's choking :)

Definitely looking forward to the launch of the PlayBook, will be picking one up on day 1. I hope between now and then that they show more about how to or what it looks like when you pair your Blackberry to it.

core interface and functionality of the playbook looks awesome

i hope there is some customization and theming options beyond just moving icons around
widgets and popup notifications would be cool (not for everyone i know)

That really bothered me. I'm sure hoping it has both a PIN and BBM... I almost won't buy one if it doesn't... Sure pairing it with your BlackBerry will be good and functional, but it should still have its stand alone PIN and BBM.

You know, maybe there are limits as to how much info the RIM guy is allowed to give out? I mean, the guys from BGR couldn't even touch it themselves, they had to be guided through by the RIM rep.

I don't think they should have a specific pin for the playbook. I think it should be able to copy your pin from your BB smartphone where you receive messages to your phone and your playbook. If you didn't have a smartphone then a pin built in to the device should be present. I really don't see how it wouldn't have a pin tho because from what I know in order to register a device with BIS you need a pin..

Very true... If BIS requires a PIN then I'm sure there will be one. I really couldn't imagine them making it without - I just got a little concerned when the RIM rep skirtted the question.

I want this playbook made with 4inch screen, 1.2-1.5 GHz processor, 512mb-1gb ram, minimum of 1gb rom 5mpx back-cam, 1mpx front, 720p recording and playing, available by march and called storm3!!!! Or u people at rim r really a little on the tard-side... 1year and no real,stable official os6 for 9700... Not to mention the storm2 which also deserves it... This is the last chance to play with the big fellas... Or u all will end up workin 4 the applez dude....

and yet u posted 1... sarcasm is the name friend and try to understand it- my simple thought is that i hope to see a similar fone like the playbook, with qnx..

Hey, totally see your point. Many of us BlackBerry fans have stuck around long enough and suffered the last couple lackluster years... So I agree, either RIM steps it up and releases some killer product in 2011, or many of us are gonna jump ship. We can't hang on forever! But hey, to be honest - I love my 9700, and the pb is gonna satisfy the consumer in me, while I rock with the 9700 for emails and productivity.

looks like a decent review .. nice over all .. a lot of work appears to have been done next stop browser , flash and apps I guess. Good start for sure

I'm oficially tired of commenting... It is all said already..
Great interface
Looks awesome
I want this!


We all saw the biased interview with Mike, and how engadget tried to make him look as an idiot... Probably he was nervious, probably he wasn't able to yell "YESS WE HAVE A DUAL CORE PHONE COMING UP IN MARCH!!!"... probably he just want to keep focus on bb playbook as is its momentum.. and they need to promote this product as it will help to change the point of view of the people regarding BB... Hell...there is nothing to say.. BB playbook it is so amazing that it does not need more reviews for most of loyal and some non loyal customers and certainly some of us will buy it with our blinded eyes because what we've seen is enough...enough!.. give me my BB Playbook!

I'll miss the old days...

Remember the "vapoware" claim?
Remember the Flash is too slow?
the "where is the price"?
the "there is a reason to why they are not telling you the battery specs"?
the 7" is too small?
the "is not even built yet"?
the "is another folio"?

Right on, no more are the Droidies and the apple fanboys coming to crackberry to dump on new products. They latter are all at home saying SJ why did you sell me this piece of crap? and me why did I buy it!?

Playbook is far too small and needs to use some of that space around it. The next one will probably jump to 10 inches next year. Which is probably the best time to buy one, seeing as though the track record new roll outs is not a bright spot.

Looks decent at best, but until they prove upon what they are known for (cell phones) its still a long wayyyyyyzzz off from where they came.


This may be the most tolerable comment I've read from you yet. Question though, do you bash the Samsung tablet for it's small size too?

I think 7 inches is good. Played with an ipad and galaxy tab and I must say, the tab fits nicely in both hands and typing was much easier.

I hope Blackberry come out with a 4.3" phone.

how come no one ever even ATTEMPTS at putting the playbook in portrait mode? at least this time we came close with a question relating to it about the keyboard =\

Still a few things to work out. Hopefully rotation is a non-issue and they can afford to leave it to the last minute.

Portrait mode IS coming. They talked about it yesterday on the developer webcast. You've got to do some messing around of settings with the simulator to make it work and they are still running a beta OS on the PB so I don't expect to see Portrait mode until the next drop (we're all still on public drop #1). This device won't be released until at least Feb... so they've got lots of time to make that work. Besides, they need to show off some new stuff when this thing actually GA's or they won't get any coverage! :-)

Dear PlayBook,

I WANT YOU NOW!. Stupid February release date.

Most amazing leap forward ive seen RIM do in all its history..

The Blackberry Playbook definitely looks like a VERY good contender to the tablet world.

- LAG - I don't see any major lag in this video which is a GOOD. Nothing better than a clean, lag free OS. Yes, the multi-task is great and all, but if it is lagtastic, then it will be purposeless. It seems to be running very well at the moment, but at times I do notice a -slight- delay in the video.
- APP WORLD - the App world needs to be supported, cheap, and easily accessible. The iPhone app world has become an entire industry on it's own. Blackberry has failed tremendously to keep their Blackberry apps on their phones up to date, entertaining, and useful. No one gets a tablet with pure intention of doing solely business. It has to be equally entertaining as well as efficient. If that were the case they'd grab their laptop (which recently laptops are trying to get in on this tablet fest by creating a two-in-one deal)

According to Mike L yesterday, you won't see this on the Torch which is too bad but not totally surprising as the Torch only has a 625Mhz processor. He said they'd keep OS6 for devices with one core below 1Ghz and the new PB OS for devices with more specs than that (including new smartphones). Expect to see a Torch2 with those kinds of specs. Yes, it's too bad our new Torches won't run QNX but I generally go through phones once a year or so anyway so it's not a biggie to me (although I did get nearly three years from my Storm cause I just didn't see the point in going to Storm 2).

I think it looks awesome and the fact that i could sync it with my BIS mail and BBm is a huge plus.

As was earlier said in previous comments, we need our Playbook right now, all the other tablets on the market look so basic when compared to the Playbook.

If this is the 1st generation Playbook, i cannot wait for the 2nd generation and up.

RIM is back baby!!!!! Get ready for the ride!!!!

We just need to get the email when we can pre-order.

I think Rim is making a mistake not putting 3G on the playbook out of the gate. Not everywhere is going to have Wifi that you can get into. ( As we have wintessed in the last few videos ) I love RIM but the iPad 2 and a few other new arrivals Motorola/Samsung/HTC etc are going to be competition. They will also I am sure feature 3G or Wimax/LTE/4G capability from the start.

My laptop, Personal computer and my toothbrush doesn't have 3G and so far we've survived? Wifi is a good basic starting point and in the end not everyone wants to fork out mobile internet contract.

That's why a lot of us are actually looking forward to paring out blackberries with the pb for internet connectivity on the go... without the extra cost.

I'd love to see tethering with other devices though.

I think the devices with WiFi/3G will be real phones in addition to the Tablet. This is a different device IMHO. If you have a PB1 and it can connect to you BB and you can seamlessly get access to all your BIS/BES content and have the phone on the smaller device (can't imagine why you'd want to hold the PB up to your ear - and before you say BT... not all of us want to walk around looking like a Borg with a BT adapter sticking out of our ears). I think this is a great first step and I'm glad they started here rather than just turning this thing into a giant Storm3.

Bezel is a good thing. gotta hold that device somehow and not only that, the bezel is also multi-talented ;)

I know what I'd like to see but I don't know if it's possible. PIN selection, if you have a Blackberry & it's paired with your Playbook you can choose which PIN to use, either your Berry's PIN OR the Playbooks, that way, those of us who want to avoid having to use 2 different PIN #s can, if you have a Playbook & no Blackberry you simply use the Playbook's PIN & can still enjoy BBM. Like I said, I have NO idea if something like this would even be possible but figured I'd mention it anyway, I mean it would be kinda cool, at least I think so.

Gotta say, after this video I'm pretty sold on the Playbook. Tethering with a BlackBerry handset is nice, but if you need an active tether to use BBM and access email I think RIM will be shooting themselves in the foot.

BBM and email are the big selling points of the BlackBerry experience. If they were on Playbook it would allow non-BlackBerry users to use them, get hooked, and then make their next phone a BlackBerry. Otherwise I can't see too many non-BlackBerry users opting for this over new iPad and Android tabs.

RHChan84: I hear you loud and clear on the 7” size—the PlayBook is super portable.
My test unit fits nicely into both hands for thumb typing, and it’s small enough that I can slip it into a back pocket.
Alex from RIM