Video PlayBook 101: Understanding the BlackBerry PlayBook's Homescreen and UI and Navigating the Operating System Using Gestures

One of the many videos I posted within my BlackBerry PlayBook Review was the above walkthrough video which explains the PlayBook's homescreen and user interface and how to use the bezel gestures to navigate the PlayBook. I've let quite a few people try out my PlayBook already, and it's become quite obvious that first time users will greatly benefit from understanding these gestures before they actually give the device a go (they're not something you'll just immediately figure out). But once you learn them, which only takes a minute and a few more to get used to, navigating on the PlayBook becomes an amazingly slick experience, and a fun one at that.

On the PlayBook's display itself, all of the standard touchscreen gestures you'd expect to find are present. Swiping, Pinching and Dragging are all present. But beyond that, bezel gestures allow you to do so much more. The PlayBook's basic navigation gestures include:

  • Showing the homescreen - swipe up from the bottom frame (BlackBerry logo) onto the screen
  • Show the options menu within apps - swipe down from top frame
  • Switch between open apps - swipe left or right from the side frames when more than one app is open
  • Show the status bar - diagonal wipe onto the screen from top left or right corner
    • This is important as it allows you do things like lock the screen orientation from within an app
    • If you get a notification glow (like when Bridge is hooked up and you get an email), this gesture will also display the notification
  • Show keyboard - diagonal swipe onto the screen from the bottom left corner

Beyond gestures, this video also gives you a look at the whole user interface - how apps are treated on the homescreen, how you can re-arrange icons, use the PlayBook in orientation mode, and more. Knowing is half the battle, so if you are planning on heading down to the store to try out a PlayBook for yourself, be sure to watch this video so you can really put the device through its paces the moment you pick it up. And if you want to learn even more, be sure to check out all of our BlackBerry PlayBook 101's.