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BlackBerry Remote Hands-On!

By Kevin Michaluk on 10 Jan 2012 01:00 pm EST
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Use your BlackBerry Smartphone to control your BlackBerry PlayBook!

One of the slightly complicated to grasp at first but awesome features about the BlackBerry PlayBook has always been BlackBerry Bridge. If you own both a BlackBerry PlayBook and a BlackBerry Smartphone, you can pair them together to do more. RIM likes to think of this as the 1 + 1 = 3 type of experience. Prior to the rollout of native email, calendar and contacts on the PlayBook, BlackBerry Bridge allowed you to access this content directly from your phone as well as use BBM and even browse the web without tethering. With BlackBerry Remote functionality on BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0, RIM is further expanding BlackBerry Bridge's functionality.

There are some REALLY awesome features here that are both geektastic and pretty compelling for the average consumer too. One of these cool features is the new Open On PlayBook feature. If somebody emails you a link or document to your BlackBerry Smartphone, you can hit the menu key on that link/file and choose to open it on your BlackBerry PlayBook (an easy way to take advantage of that bigger screen). Check it out in the video above. The implementation is pretty slick.

Even more fun is the new Remote Control functionality that can be accessed via the BlackBerry Bridge app on your BlackBerry Smartphone. Once opened, you can literally use your BlackBerry Smartphone to control your BlackBerry PlayBook. That's right - you can hook your PlayBook up to your TV, sit back on the couch and then use your phone as a remote to fully control the experience. You can cursor around and even "swipe" on your phone with the virtual bezels that show up on the phone's display. Switching over to presenter mode on your phone, you could even use your phone as clicker for a a Powerpoint presentation being delivered from the PlayBook. 

And perhaps my favorite feature here is the ability to USE THE KEYBOARD ON YOUR BLACKBERRY SMARTPHONE to type on your BlackBerry PlayBook. This was a feature I was hoping would come to the BlackBerry PlayBook since day 1, and with PlayBook OS 2 it's here. I can't wait to use my Bold 9900's keyboard to type on my PlayBook. And in this case your BlackBerry phone shortcuts and saved autotexts will all come through on the PlayBook as well.

Definitely check out the video above to get a great look at Remote Control functionality on the BlackBerry PlayBook!

Reader comments

BlackBerry Remote Hands-On!

124 Comments

AWESOME!!!!!!!!! GO RIM!!!

Now just need a nice HDMI + CHARGING dock to place my PB close to my HDTV!

This feature will be also great for presentations!!

+1 and if possible add a full size SD card slot too the Dock so we can transfer back and forth and even post pics from your camera to fb etc... Another feature I'd love to see is USB hosting.

I noticed the LED notification being implemented on the PlayBook which is awesome, I am curious if OS5 and OS6 devices will be able to take full advantage of BlackBerry Remote.

you might want to take that back as i am on my 9780 OS 6 and it has no option within bridge to take remote control of the playbook on OS2!!

RIM Platinum Partner : o2 Data Centre of Excellence

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u can tell when kevin's seen this before. Usually if its new and something cool like this kevin would be like WOW and drooling all over. This time he was more calm... obviously he knew before and was 'acting' for us today =P

You would use your trackpad.

If you wanted to exit and app, you would bring cursor to bottom of PlayBook screen and the cursor will change from an arrow to a "tile and small arrow pointing up" design to signify you want to go to the tab carousel. If that makes any sense.

Wow, that is awesome! CL8Baller brings up a good question. How will it work for non-touchscreen BlackBerry smartphones?

Two questions,
1.Did he just pull up the crackberry site on the playbook using the bridge browser or was that wifi?
2.Will us os5 and 6 owners be able to use the remote also?

More good questions. For #1, I suppose ideally if Wi-Fi is available it should use that and if not it should use the Bridge?

The reason i asked is because if it was brought up via bridge browser,it seems as if the speed has increased by a whole hell of a lot.I barely use my bridge because of the SLOWMOTION....

hahah... am definitely over it... just excited now for the launch... still its interesting to imagine how the tablet market might look had this been released as originally scheduled :)

:) I think we're all excited!
Tablet market is still young. Still a work in progress but I like how RIM is differentiating itself.

And "they" said the playbook was going away. NOT!!!!!!!!!!! This is very nice can not wait to get the new sw.

Hmmmm. Makes me want to get a new 7.1 BB phone (have an iphone). Was holding off for the BBX/BB10 phones when my contract is up next year but this really is SWEET!

Will we be able to control playbooks music app via the volumen up/down keys on our phone device.

P.s.: when does os 7.1 roll out for the 9900? :P

I'm willing to bet my BBOS 5 9000 isn't going to get any love from this. Lifes a bitch, and I need a new phone :(

Woop! One of my "wouldn't it be awesome if they added this" featured is now a reality!!

I cant stand typing on glass!, no more miss clicked adds while scrolling, and should make editing typos possible

This is neat, very neat, but agree with jimbob4321, if they are marketing playbook as this BlackBerry accessory more than an actual tablet, then shouldn't they have released this when they launched the playbook.

Still, the practical aspect of this for me is questionable, as I usually use my playbook only when I am not using a computer or around my desk. Holding a tablet with one hand and operating it with a smartphone with another is slightly tricky.

It makes a cool party trick and maybe useful when I am around some sort of flat surface and wants to type, but I doubt it's worth the trouble.

Keep in mind yours is only one use case.

I use my phone (and PB to lesser extent) almost exclusively for email even when I'm working at my desk.

This is enough to get me to get a dock/stand in anticipation...

I think Kevin missed an important item here. Will it support OS6 devices? I know we can't have the touch screen controls for most os6 devices, but the keyboard, etc. are they available for OS6?

Kevin, please update your post. I feel left out...

I would like to know this as well - I assume it would work but if it doesn't that would stink :(

Wow, I was wondering how useful this is going to be looks amazing. Plus the added functionality of predictive text. PlayBook steeping its game up. Plus you Canadians and your "Right On" makes me laugh

Is it just me but tears came from my eyes because I'm very impressed and happy about this new feature. I'll now enjoy my Playbook and 9900 together.

i made the suggestion for a "bb-remote" in the forums a long time ago, glad to see it is actually taken seriously! i remember people loving that idea, cool

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in the time of your life, live so that in that good time, there should be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life that your life touches, seek goodness everywhere

All these cool new tools coming at the same time. It's going to be like getting a freakin new tablet! I love it!

This looks awesome. I was worried it would be laggy, but it wasn't. I'll definitely be using this when my Playbook is hooked up to HDMI.

Nice, finally something new for RIM to demo for a year. Getting tired of hearing about Email on the PlayBook. At least RIM's come up with something new to demo but never give us.

i just wanna pass out until february, then wake up to the new playbook os

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in the time of your life, live so that in that good time, there should be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life that your life touches, seek goodness everywhere

it will be humorous to see the reactions of all the "bb haters" out there, they will literally have to invent more lies if they're gonna try to stay "bb haters"

i knew rim was gonna pull through to shock and amaze in 2012, i just knew it

these 2 videos (this and the native email one) completely made my day! i'm SO happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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in the time of your life, live so that in that good time, there should be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life that your life touches, seek goodness everywhere

this is sooo great. Need a 9900 asap...

Was it me or did he used a swipe feature on the 9790 ? so would this make a bbx phone easier to build assuming and hoping we have swipe features on the bb10? not sure but it doesnt seem like building bb10 should be that difficult just saying, since they already have their basic foundations on the playbook.

exciting future for rim!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! omg love it so much

now all we need is peace in the middle east, so take heed to the speech and watch the fun beast unleash, who play second fiddle to no one, capisce (cah-peesh)?

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in the time of your life, live so that in that good time, there should be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life that your life touches, seek goodness everywhere

If the Playbook is off, can you turn on the Playbook via the remote app? For example, my Playbook is sitting on a counter, I get an email message with a web-link in it on my phone and I want to view it on the Playbook. Do I need to physically go to the Playbook, turn it on, turn on bluetooth pairing, go back to the phone, open the remote app, launch the weblink into the Playbook's browser?

What would be nice if I could do all of that via the remote as in, oh look, I got an email with a weblink that I want to view in the browser. I'll just press this button which will automatically start the Playbook and voila I'm done.

Regarding OS 5.0; I sent a tweet question to RIM yesterday asking whether or not the remote features would work with other OS's or whether it is relegated to OS 7. The response I received indicated it would work for OS 6 and 7.

I was actually choked up. This is the stuff I always knew why Blackberry stood out for me. Not Angry Birds, fart apps or anything like that. Productivity is where it's at.

They need to have an aggressive marketing campaign to show this feature off.

This is the "leap over the competition" Balisillie was talking about.

Did anyone notice he said AVAILABLE FOR FREE TO EXISTING USERS AND ALL "NEW" PLAYBOOKS starting in Febuary?
Is RIM pulling something out of the hat with a new Playbook model also??

I think he just meant that they are going to start boxing them up with 2.0 already installed. It seems that they still have lots of the original inventory of 32GB and 64GB models, so those will probably have to download the new OS on first boot-up, but there is evidence of 16GB and at least one 32GB boxed up since the Black Friday sale, so they may be packaging new ones going forward.

There is no mention of a new model yet, and I have a feeling that's a low priority at the moment.

I have a 9850. I really like this remote app, but I was wondering if you can use teh virtual keyboard to type on the playbook. They didn't really mention this, but it would be nice to navigate to a website while having the PB connected to HDMI.

This is indeed pretty awesome! I was about to purchase a bluetooth keyboard and mouse to use the playbook with my TV, but I don't have to anymore. My 9900 will do just fine! :-)

Now just add :

1) Access to files on network attached storage
2) Native external USB HDD support
3) A Dock with HDMI and full size USB ports
4) An improved media player

and you have the ultimate home media center!!

I'm very Impressed as well! These are some very innovative ideas from RIM! Keep bringing it! show them who's Boss around these parts!

I have just canceled my lung transplant.. I need this more than ever.. I am getting out of the hospital... I need to get a playbook right now! 64gb no less!

I think a bunch of nurses are persecuting me.. Im on 5th avenue running with my hospital suit... Im heading to the nearest bestbuy on west and lincon... damn so many cars!

daaamn!! 64gb there is so much room for activities!!!!
I need this to liveeeee.. gtfo you piece of shit, a old woman cut me and didnt let me pass into best buy, I kicked her

I have it!!!!

Sounds like having a 16 gig playbook is okay, cause if u can play media stored on your phone, then I'd just get a 32 gig card and be happy.

Shyt, now what am I gonna do with my bluetooth keyboard? It took awhile to get these features, so I guess I got my money's worth outta my bt kb, oh well. Awesome new features though...

tbis is cool, but i still wish my playbook had its own trackpad. tbis is all tacit admission that virtual keyboards really suck for editing.

How many more sleeps until this comes? Waiting for Christmas will be easier. I love this function. I can now use my PB in presentations for customers!!!! Huge!!! I love it.

OMFG... That is awesome... I mean completely sweet indeed!!! Man o Man.. Talk about throwing fastballs on a 3-2 count!

A very cool unexpected feature for owners of a Playbook and Blackberry. I currently use a 12 ft micro-HDMI cable that allows me to have the PB near me on the couch while surfing simultaneously. If I have guests, I can just leave my Playbook by the TV and remote from my BB. Typing e-mails on the bigger screen along with predictive text has become so much more easy and productive. Can't wait to try this out! :)

i see a bright future ahead for RIM.
But Att Need to drop that extra charge..so call tethering fee...

There needs to be an API so that anyone can hook into bridge and do this :)
I'm also surprised they didn't use NFC to open the URL...

samsung tab and the sony tablet s can be used as universal remotes, c'mon RIM, I'd like to see this interact with my tv too!

In my dream world this would be a full mirroring experience between the BB and the Playbook, on the BB you'd just scroll around a window of the Playbook screen, or if you wanted just magnify the BB screen on the playbook. if you tapped on either you'd get the same result, a true mirror/marriage. And in insane world there would also be a BBTV box like a Roku and you could mirror all three together. Maybe in BB10 with Playbook 3.0... :-)

Best feature I have seen on ANY tablet thus far. Great job RIM, now just don't drop the ball and get this too as ASAP!

does OPENon work with music and video...2.0 description said it works with multimedia. so far ive only seen it work with pictures and links

Can this work between the playbook and an android phone?
Or playbook to playbook?

I am thinking of the use case where the playbook sits
under the TV connected by HDMI, and a second playbook,
or android phone, acts as the remote.