From the forums: Verizon Webinar BlackBerry PlayBook FAQ notes that native email, calendar and contacts are on the way!

By Kevin Michaluk on 28 Mar 2011 04:41 pm EDT

BlackBerry PlayBook Native Apps

Forums member mediq91 dropped a bit of good info in the forums today in the form of a BlackBerry PlayBook FAQ taken from a Verizon webinar. The document contains a good summary of answers to all the common PlayBook questions like specs and BlackBerry Bridge, but nothing really new that we haven't seen before. It is good to see more solid information coming straight from RIM however. The cool thing to note is that native clients for email, calendar and contacts will be included in software versions down the road (it just won't be quite ready for the April 19th launch). We've been told by RIM on a few occassions now that the native clients would come to the PlayBook at some point, but this is the first time we've actually seen it in writing.

In a future software update for the BlackBerry PlayBook, we will also provide native e-mail, calendar, and contact apps for those customers who prefer to have these apps directly on the tablet. 

Definitely good news for those of you worried that the tablet would be left without these native apps should you not have a BlackBerry to pair with it. It makes sense that these do need to be there before the QNX software hits phones down the road. Hopefully this native support will be ready to roll when we see the 4G version of the PlayBook  hit this summer (it's just gotta have native BBM, don't you think?) or hopefully even sooner... I'm sure we'll learn more about this soon.

So what are your thoughts? Does this make you any more motivated to buy a PlayBook now knowing the features will implemented sooner rather than later via a software update? Were you going to get one no matter what? Or does it not change the fact that you're still not sold on the PlayBook? Leave a comment and let us know then swing by the forums do downlad the full FAQ pdf and to discuss!

Download the PlayBook FAQ .pdf and discuss more in the forums

Reader comments

From the forums: Verizon Webinar BlackBerry PlayBook FAQ notes that native email, calendar and contacts are on the way!


It seems foolish to me to release a product without core applications available. Doesn't make me more or less likely to buy it but it means I will not buy it till they are released (and I want to see the Android emulator actually working). Buying a product and depending on a software upgrade is foolish IMHO. It shows just how far behind the curve RIM is that they have to release a product without core applications ready.

Yeah, and they got crucified for it, too.

Motorola's incompetence is no defense of RIM's incompetence. I'm usually pretty reluctant to complain, but seriously? It doesn't ship with a CALENDAR!?!?!
It's one thing to ship it with a slow calendar, or a buggy calendar, but NOTHING!?! Holy hell. When did they realize they'd need one? Yesterday?



You do have a valid point if you will be using the Playbook as your primary device. However, I have a question for you. How many computers do you have? In addition, do you own a smart phone? If you answer yes to both questions, why are a calender and email so important on a tablet! How many places do you check email and calender events? I have an iMac, a Torch, and a laptop, and now I am purchasing the Playbook. I have made my cell phone my central point for email and calender events because I constantly have my cell phone with me. I have found it to be counterproductive to have email and calender events all over the place, and going to multiple devices; even when you are synchronizing. I am glad that Blackberry is allowing their customers (those who have Blackberry phones) to pair their devices to eliminate duplication of emails, tasks, etc... On the Playbook, you can go on line and check your email. In addition, if needed, you probably can download a free calender.

I wonder how many people who have iPads, iMacs and iPhones actually use email and calender on their iPads! I bet you very few...

In my case you are absolutely right, I have the ipad and i rather check my email with the browser and google calendar is the best. I really dont see the big deal with the PB not having a native email app yet. I'll be getting a PB but i'm going to wait for a 3G version.

I agree, releasing it without email or calendar apps is kind of silly. If we believe what RIM has said in the past, that they've been working on this before they announced and even before the iPad 1 came out, how in the hell are these core apps not ready to go??

Backwards as usual I guess...

too many anti-RIM Blogs,may they find some peace of mind, just like all the blogs of PCworld are all anti-RIM,

Maybe some of the "negative nellies" out there will finally stop their whining about the native email client. LOL

i dont understand why they didn't prioritise those basic apps from the beginning. yes they promise a software upgrade.. but this is RIM, i still haven't seen a single update for my torch since i bought it last October.

The Torch has definitely received official software updates since its launch. Where have you been? I don't know which carrier you're on but maybe they're to blame.

This is great news for the Playbook!

Also, current OS are handled by the carriers at their own (slow) pace but it doesn't stop you from loading any OS version. For the Playbook the OS is a completely different animal - updates will be direct from RIM, and I read somewhere QNX can update itself without a reboot (!), if true this should avoid having to re-install the apps every time.

I am getting one anyway as a developer, but in theory if I wasn't, this would probably bump me from about 40% likely to buy one to more like 60%. Nice, but as somebody with a BlackBerry always on me, I can survive with Bridge if it didn't happen.

Never understood the native email client argument. The zoom's native email client is Gmail, which works on the Playbook as well, so I don't get what the whining is about. Especially the Tech blog reporters and editors.

Agreed. I don't have/use a contacts, calendar, or email apps/programs on my laptop. Why would I need it on my PB?

If that's true, then this whole complaint about the PB email client is moot.

And BBM using a PIN is a great example of why having the PB duplicate the functions of a BB is unneeded and bridging is a better solution. 2 PINs, 2 Data plans and double the download charges when you update your tablet client and your phone client as well. And odds are extremely good that you WILL have your phone around because the PB isn't a phone.

maybe this'll shut up some of the whiners on iGadget... i'm sure they'll find something else to nitpick though

Unfortunately, it won't.

They will find something else no doubt. While it should have been there from the start, this is good news. Hopefully it won't take weeks or months to appear...

Course there is...

1) Its not a 10-inch screen
2) There are none or barely any apps
3) You are stealing another os' apps for apps
4) Consumers haven't used it yet so all the awesome comments are voided.
5) It doesn't connect to itunes or the iphone
6) The screen isn't as pretty as the Ipad 2
7) You don't have facetalk

Thats some I have seen or think they will talk trash about

Me on the other hand will be picking it up as soon as I can afford it! Sadly I will not be included in the first wave of buyers

That makes it two of us brother... Once it hits Brasil... I could expect $499 to become at least R$3500... Unless RIM managges to get it in under the same regulations the Kindle used (book reader). That would make it only $499+shipping (times currency ofc). Oh well, one can dream eh? ^^

If you're bridging your phone then that probably means you want your phone to take precedence. Ideally they will sync and combine all info.

"It makes sense that these do need to be there before the QNX software hits phones down the road"

But will the email, calendar, etc on the PlayBook WiFi be the same as those on a BlacKBerry smartphone? Will it work through BIS for consumers when using the WiFi PlayBook to get read/unread status, push email, etc?

Flame if you want, but I think this is not a good start. Future is a relative term, so hopefully it is the near future not another two quarters away.

I do not see the edge that the Playbook has to make it an instant success, which is what RIM needs. Loyal Blackberry users will buy this, but it's the indecisive consumer who knows little about technology that should be targeted. Out of the box to sell a tablet that can't be used for email or a planner does not seem like a good start to a product competing in a space where there is one big name.

Amen. To succeed the Playbook needs to appeal to every potential customer. The way it is now, it seems to be targeting current BB users and only a select subset of those with newer devices (i.e. will the BB Bridge support the Storm?). The competition is entrenched and the response is the release of a half-baked device.

I agree with a post above, no one should buy anything as expensive as the Playbook for the potential of what it might do later on, it should do what you need from day one. The updates should be to improve existing functionality not to add functionality that should be there from the beginning. And this kludge solution for apps, is not the answer either.

I am going to reserve judgment until I get to play with the thing because the device might just be so awesome and the experience so great that I and a lot of other people will be willing to overlook these missing elements. After all, it has happened before (coughiPhonecough).

"The updates should be to improve existing functionality not to add functionality that should be there from the beginning"

So I guess the iphone getting a wi-fi hot spot was something that was there from the beginning? Clearly that was added through an OS update.

No because the iPhone could still act as a phone, web browser, email outlet, and multimedia device.

Without email or a calendar what is the Playbook? A 7 inch wifi web browser? It seems to be lacking any ability to be a communications tool.

Check your email online via or That's what the average consumer will do. The average consumer does not use an email client on their PC. Anyway, Email and calendar are not ready. Would you prefer that RIM delay selling the PlayBook for that reason? If you prefer waiting, then wait until the software is ready before buying one.

I agree and disagree. I think most PC users do not use a desktop client. That said, I think the smartphone space is different. You didn't buy a Blackberry or smartphone to use the web browser to check email, did you?

Plus, how will that help the corporate space? If this is supposed to be a supplement to corporate Blackberries, then email is critical.

I won't be buying a Playbook. However, if an "average" consumer was looking at reviews and information because they wanted to buy a $500 tablet and the WSJ or CNET says this tablet can't do email or have a calendar, do you think he or she be spending the money on that tablet when there are other viable, proven options on the market?

The Playbook needs to generate positive uproar and feedback for RIM, not another, "close but no cigar story."

I think the corporate space doesn't want email/calendar stored on the PlayBook for security purposes. They will most likely be using the BlackBerry Bridge, no?

I agree with you, it would be nice to have email and calendar right from the beginning but not if it means delaying the release. I for one will be using it mostly for browsing the web and media. For email and calendar, I will be using my Torch as it's always ON and connected.

isn't the addition of a WiFi hotspot an improvement of existing functionality? i.e. the built-in cellular radio? Now, if the iPhone shipped without, say cut and paste, you would be comparing apples to blackberries.

As that actually did occur, I leave open the possibility that using the Playbook will be such a "magic" experience that potential consumers and reviewers will overlook/forgive the missing parts.

I think that's a great point. It's just interesting, the company that prides itself on their push emailing does not include it in device that they seem to be touting as their jewel.

You're far more optimistic than I am. I don't even think loyal Blackberry users will blindly buy this. Blackberry calendar support for the average consumer is already lacking when compared to Android\iPhone.

The only thing that can possibly make the Playbook attractive is 100% support for flash on day one.

"sooner rather than later via a software update"... You're completely delusional if you are confident that these features will be released in a reasonable time frame. RIM has made no indication when this software update will occur. If the playbook doesn't have day 1 native support for multiple email & calendar accounts it will be a failure.

This is the mistake RIM makes with EVERY. SINGLE. PRODUCT. THEY. MAKE.

RIM is shooting themselves in the foot not including the native email client at release. Product reviews are written when the product is RELEASED, not 8 months later.

We all know the Playbook is going to be awesome, but most of the general public doesn't... All that matters is that every review is going to say "You can't email with the Playbook", and that's how it will be known forever, whether they include it in the future or not.

I don't mean to flame, but this is a seriously dumb comment to make. All phones/gadgets get released whenever, with updates to follow.

When the IPad was released with never-to-be flash and no camera (!!), that didn't stop all the tech blogs from hailing it as the next Coming, neither did it hinder sales.

More to the point of the comment, why should you need an email client when you can simply access your email like you would on a computer? If you actually watched any of the promo videos you would have heard the RIM guys saying the Playbook is not a bigger mobile device, its a small computer.
Why should I need a facebook app when I can see the full site?? etc etc

The real problem RIM has is marketing. With their marketing director gone, I hope they replace him with a real hype guy.

RIM should provide a much narrower date than just the "future". That could be a year later or more. They should be able to say something like before month X. I mean I wouldn't use an e-mail client anyway, I don't use one on my Mac, but it would help clear up things for those people without a Blackberry that are considering the playbook.

Maybe RIM should hire the apple marketing guros, I am sure they can spin this so everyone will want a tablet without a native email client......

Is it just me or is it fun watching RIM self destruct!!!

would you even need native applications?

there's a browser,

yahoo mail
countless flash games
countless flash video sites
... (seriously, with a full browser do you REALLY need an app?)

my 2 cents.

People can't seem to survive without an icon directing them to a program. It's like no one has ever used a web browser before, even though we all have a computer.

In fairness, one benefit of an icon is the ability to alter the icon graphics based on the reception of new email, or calendar event, etc.

You're not going to die without it.

This will be DOA

When people walk into a store to try this out and they see no email or calendar ???

What were they thinking ?

Let's make a tablet to sell to our existing customers only, with less functions than their current phone which most users want to upgrade from anyway.

I would be shorting this stock as fast as possible ....the ship is sinking !

Oh, if they put bbm on other platforms they are finished!

I can't say having contacts or a calendar is a big deal. I never use it on my laptop. Email is a big one though but they better make it easy to sync for other devices but for the time being I'm sure u can use a web based email where it can take advantage of pop email forwarding too.

In the end Rim really need to focus on getting these basics working well with other devices because my laptop does. Great that it works well with blackberry but u have to work on broadening those horizons (android apps though is a start) and that's why I think webos in some regards has a good focus in being able to be put on printers, computers as well as their current phone and soon to be released tablet. Thankfully the playbook will be out soon but it really needs to diversify into other products.

Let me ask you a question? Is the Playbook going to be your primary device? I can see that if the PB is what you will pull out of your pocket or briefcase to check your email every time it *dings* I can see a valid argument there. If your phone...BB, Iphone, or Droid is what you are going to check email on...why the complaint? Do you use the calendar on your phone to check what the date is?

I must be one of the few who are looking for PB to be my primary portable device. I carry a 10” Thinkpad with Office and a BB for communication & webbing on the go. My hope for the PB was to eliminate the ThinkPad and relegate my BB to phone status. PB is what I want to pull out when my email dings.

The absence of native productivity apps is disappointing. I’m anxious to see the Bridge in action.

Am the only one that thinks this bridging idea can lead to great things. Imagine having 1 core device (your phone) and you bridge it to whatever screen/system you need at that moment without leaving your info on it but keeping it with you so you don't have to worry about something not syncing to all devices. Imagine having a monitor on an airplane or train and you "bridge" your device too it so you can do your work on a larger screen then when your done you just walk away with your phone. I really don't see this bridge thing as a bad thing. Its going through bluetooth so I see that opening up to other devices later on down the road. Its not some special thing like apple did with there airprint thing.

If RIM is only targeting current BB users, then without native email/calender isnt a big deal since they are able to do bridging but if they want to attract more customers from the consumer market without BB phones, obviously there has to be a need to have native email/calender app installed.

You can say that we can check our email on the phone/laptop etc., but what if i leave my phone on my desk while i bring my playbook to the sofa etc.? Furthermore, 7" isnt all that big so if you use the web to access email, you will see full of unwanted ads, extra stuff and always need to zoom in/out instead of just the email functions itself which will be much better.

Its kinda stupid IMO if they are going to release CORE apps by a software update and not on release. This means that they will most likely only attract users with BB and those without, RIM can forget about getting more customer by the consumer market till they release the basic functions.

The future is the cloud, synchronizing devices is a thing of the past and client based email/calendar is kept alive mainly by Apple. I looked on the Android market and there are many email clients to choose from and all it will take is a developer to compile for PlayBook and we now have client based (old fashioned) email on the playbook for the luddites.

RIM has the proper approach with bridge and if the PlayBook is loved, developers will make bridge for iOS, Android and others. I have an iPad and I cannot use it to browse my network and access my media, all I can do is synchronize iTunes which is a program I have never used and likely never will.

The Internet is the most important tool, the device that can best take advantage of the Internet is the winner. My biggest fear with Bridge is limited file attachment size but thankfully, with a real browser on board, I can do whatever I please.

I really don't understand how anyone could possibly be defending RIM on this. I was really excited by the Playbook, partially because of its functionality and partially because my employer is transitioning to BES and I need a BB-based device to manage data... therefore, the only features I really care about are the PIM applications. Yes, I'll have to get a BB as well, and yes, I'll be able to bridge it, and ultimately we'll have to wait and see how it operates, but to say that it's unnecessary is just foolish, short-sighted and, well, stupid. The form factor and the interface provide the opportunity for greater efficiency, ease of use, control, and portability relative to a handheld or a laptop. In my line of work, things happen fast and we're in a lot of meetings. Looking at a handheld is rude and keeping a laptop open is frowned upon, but a tablet is tantamount to a digital pad of paper, allowing note-taking, recording, scheduling, etc... on the fly. For all that to work, you need access to e-mail and calendars. Further, I much prefer using my fingers to move stuff around and visualize tasks than to use a cursor or keyboard functionality. The Playbook provides RIM the opportunity to expand upon their industry leading PIM, and I just hope that it won't be ready because they're making it all the more awesome. I have a hard time believing that bridging devices will take full advantage of the screen. I suppose we'll see.

Its not the end of the world unless you truly believe rim won't deliver this at all. Apple finally gave users cut and paste eventually :p. Also in regards to bridging devices to the playbook will all depend on how well the app is written to take advantage of certain functionalities like bbm and calendar. I'm sure these will be well done by rim.

My wife has an iPad and does not like the email client, so she uses a web browser. I, like many of the readers on CrackBerry have a Blackberry and think the bridge solution is better for anyone that has a Blackberry. Even if it had an email client, I would not use it because I plan to use the mail and calendar from by Blackberry. I agree it will be needed when QNX is ported to phones, but don't feel it is important from day one. I would rather they work through the bugs and weed out the issues with two devices sharing one PIN before they role that functionality out. I will be on vacation during the release, but plan to go to Staples or Best Buy on the release day to get one.