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How To Setup the BlackBerry Bridge to connect the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to a BlackBerry Smartphone

By Kevin Michaluk on 28 Mar 2011 02:35 pm EDT
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BlackBerry PlayBook 101: How to setup the BlackBerry Bridge to pair your BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet to your BlackBerry Smartphone

BlackBerry Bridge

While you don't need to own a BlackBerry Smartphone to go out and buy a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, if you do own both BlackBerry phone and tablet you can take advantage of the BlackBerry Bridge, which connects your tablet to your phone, allowing your tablet to act like a big touchscreen for your phone providing direct access to your phone's email, calendars, BBM files and other data. In order use the BlackBerry Bridge, you first have to install the BlackBerry Bridge application onto your phone, and from there pair your phone to your tablet. 

This tutorial goes through the process, so keep on reading to learn more about using the BlackBerry Bridge!

Using BlackBerry Bridge

1. About BlackBerry Bridge

If you are running BlackBerry Device Software 5.0 or later on your BlackBerry smartphone, you can connect your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to your smartphone to access email, calendars, BlackBerry Messenger files, and other data directly from your tablet.

Your tablet connects to your smartphone using Bluetooth technology. To connect, you need the BlackBerry Bridge application installed on your smartphone. You can download it from the BlackBerry App World storefront.

2. Download BlackBerry Bridge

BlackBerry Bridge

You can download the BlackBerry Bridge application using a barcode, or by searching BlackBerry App World. 

Using a barcode

To download the BlackBerry Bridge application using a barcode, complete the following steps:

Complete the following steps on your tablet:

  1. On your tablet home screen, on the status bar, tap settings > BlackBerryBridge.
  2. Tap Setup.
  3. If necessary, enter a name for your tablet.
  4. Tap Next.
  5. Tap Show Barcode.

Complete the following steps on your BlackBerry Smartphone:

  1. On your smartphone home screen, click App World.
  2. Press the Menu key.
  3. Click Scan a Barcode.
  4. To scan the barcode, point your smartphone camera at the barcode that appears on your tablet.
  5. On your smartphone, click the BlackBerry Bridge application. 6. Click Download. 7. Enter your BlackBerry® ID login information. 8. If necessary, enter your smartphone password.
BlackBerry Bridge
BlackBerry Bridge

Searching BlackBerry App World

To download the BlackBerry Bridge application by searching BlackBerry App World, complete the following steps on your smartphone:

  1. On the home screen, click App World.
  2. On the Featured Items screen, press the Menu key.
  3. Click Search.
  4. Type BlackBerry Bridge.
  5. Click the BlackBerry Bridge application.
  6. Click Download.
  7. Enter your BlackBerry ID login information.
  8. If necessary, enter your smartphone password.

3. Connect your tablet and smartphone using BlackBerry Bridge

You can connect your tablet and smartphone using a barcode and the BlackBerry Bridge application, or by manually pairing using the BlackBerry Bridge application. Please note, to connect your tablet and smartphone, the BlackBerry Bridge application must be installed on your smartphone. 

Using a Barcode

To connect your tablet and smartphone with a barcode using the BlackBerry Bridge application, complete the following steps:

Complete the following steps on your tablet:

  1. On your tablet home screen, on the status bar, tap settings > BlackBerry Bridge.
  2. Tap Setup.
  3. If necessary, enter a name for your tablet.
  4. Tap Next > Continue.
BlackBerry Bridge
BlackBerry Bridge

Complete the following steps on your smartphone:

  1. In the BlackBerry Bridge application on your smartphone, click Add Device > Next.
  2. To scan the barcode, point your smartphone camera at the barcode that appears on your tablet.
BlackBerry Bridge

Manually Pairing

To connect your tablet and smartphone by manually pairing using the BlackBerry Bridge application, complete the following steps:

Complete the following steps on your tablet:

  1. On your tablet home screen, on the status bar, tap settings > BlackBerry Bridge.
  2. Tap Setup.
  3. If necessary, enter a name for your tablet.
  4. Tap Next > Continue > Manual Pairing. 
BlackBerry Bridge
BlackBerry Bridge

Complete the following steps on your smartphone:

  1. In the BlackBerry Bridge application on your smartphone, click Add Device.
  2. Click Manual Setup.
  3. Select the tablet from the list.
  4. Confirm that the pairing number is the same for the tablet and smartphone, and click Yes.
  5. Click Yes.
BlackBerry Bridge

4. BlackBerry Bridge Connections

When your tablet and smartphone are connected, the following applications appear on your tablet home screen: 

BlackBerry Bridge Connections

Saved Wi-Fi networks and bookmarks from the Browser application on your smartphone are available on your tablet. When your tablet and smartphone are not connected, the applications appear as unavailable on your tablet home screen.

Note: BlackBerry Bridge connections are only available on your tablet when your tablet and smartphone are connected. When your tablet and smartphone are disconnected, the connections are removed from your tablet, but remain on your smartphone.

IT Policy: For administered BlackBerry Smartphone users, a new IT policy exists called Enable BlackBerry Bridge which specifies whether a smartphone can run the BlackBerry Bridge application. If this rule is set to True, a smartphone user can run the BlackBerry Bridge application and use it to connect the tablet to the smartphone.
If this rule is set to False, a smartphone user cannot run the BlackBerry Bridge application and cannot use it to connect the tablet to the smartphone.

53 comments

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How To Setup the BlackBerry Bridge to connect the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to a BlackBerry Smartphone

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This is my favorite part of the whole webinar. Thank you to Blackberry for putting the easiest set up for this. I would just like to put it out there that this morning I sent Kevin an email with 5 attatchments on them from a webinar I recently attended 1. Blackberry Playbook FAQ. 2.Setting up the BB Playbook Tablet. 3. Using Blackberry Bridge 4. Using Touch Screen on the BB Playbook Tablet and 5.See how the BB Playbook Stacks Up. Also have a image that I forgot to send of the webinar stating that Verizon Wireless will have theres on April 19 seeing how this was a Verizon Webinar.
Jordan Vail
Mediq91

Anytime I will keep posted on anything that else I find out. I love Crackberry.com always have and always will

This is what I want to know.

While in bridge mode, can I access INTERNET and not 'Intranet'?

This is a make-or-break for me

Do you not see the option entitled "INTERNET tethering". This will most likely be possible using BIS (and BES if IT allows it). However, it will probably be treated like tethering a laptop. I know I have tethering included in my bb plan.

No, internet tethering is under General Options, not under the blackberry bridge specific subtitle. This is most likely a feature to tether from the 3g/4g playbook to a laptop, not from another device to the playbook.

While in bridge mode you will still have a internet browser on your Playbook to access the internet. I believe the article is simply stating that you can not access your companies intranet unless you are bridged.

no u cant. in order to browse the web you would have to utilize tethering...but u gotta pay att/tmobile/verizon some monthly $$$

So, if the Playbook is to have the capability to play media files from the BB, would you initiate that function outside of Bridge mode? I didn't see any icons that looked like they'd be used for media sharing.

I'm not able to find it either and the web address they show in the pictures takes you to a blank page. I don't think it's up yet. But I'm just guessing. I've looked everywhere for it to no avail.

I have tried it on multiple BlackBerry devices on multiple US carriers. Can't find the BlackBerry Bridge app in AppWorld on any of them. Is this a bad joke??

This is just the instructions that someone snagged and posted, not the official release of the procedure. Why would this app be available on App World yet? They will probably make it available a few days before the release since it isn't of any value until PlayBooks are actually in our hands.

Don't think anyone expects the pre-sales of the PlayBook to be much of a headline.

Sales are really going to depend on the reviews once some folks get an actual device in their hands and see how it really functions.

I'm going to try a friend's PlayBook in the next few days. Mind you it might be an early build, but I'll post my findings. I have the same questions as all of you. (Internet tethering, media access/syncing, etc.)

The more I read about this bridge function, the more concerned I become that you can't use the phones data connection to fulfill the internet needs of the PlayBook. Am I just getting a bad vibe? When the feature was originally announced, it seemed more like if you have a 3/4G phone, that using the bridge turns your tablet into a 3/4G device. Is that still the case, or was it early hype? If so, how are the speeds?

Bridging does not equal tethering.

Playbook will do both, but tethering is dependent on the carrier, therefore fees may/will likely apply. Tethering speed is therefore also carrier related.

Bridging is free (assumes you have a BB phone).

Thanks for taking the time to reply! That's what I wanted to know because I had gotten the impression that the bridge would perform the tethering function as well.

There was a lot of talk around supposedly not needing to wait for a 3/4G model because if you already had a BB, you could bridge/tether them and essentially have your PlayBook be a 3/4G device without a carrier charging you more to tether ot getting another plan just for the playbook.

If what you say is accurate, I'm even less excited now than I was before. I will still check it out and see if I really want to bother with it.

Yeah, clearly the Bridge feature is to link between BB and PB and access apps that reside on the BB itself.

I want clarification of that Internet Tethering menu choice down the side menu. How is it going to work and is it wireless? If it is wireless, it would be logical that it was a feature of Bridge (since Bridge is the effective tunnel to your BB), but its not in the list of things enabled by Bridge. So while we need to hear how carriers will allow tethering - which with Rogers I am hoping is treated no different than regular tethering (i.e. no upcharge) - I also want to know how it is technically going to work. Wired will suck, so I am really hoping its wireless. If it is, why isn't the icon in the list of Bridge enabled things... The only hope I have is that the list of things Bridge enables are app like icons, whereas tethering is not so much an app as it is a "system permission".

Here's hoping under that Internet Tethering menu option is a simple checkbox that says something like "Allow wireless Internet over BlackBerry Bridge when no wireless network detected", or words to that effect.

"(since Bridge is the effective tunnel to your BB)"

...odd you chose to use the word tunnel, instead of...well... bridge.

haha.

2 questions.

1. From an IT Standpoint, if we go PlayBook (Most likely will, execs mouths are watering) will BlackBerry Bridge be available outside of App World? Since I'll probably be the one setting them up, I would prefer not to have to ask for the president's BlackBerry ID to install it.

2. Using BlackBerry Bridge, will users be able to browse network files on the PlayBook as well? None of the Icons in this post seem to suggest that functionality except MAYBE the Intranet one.

Excellent questions. I'll go a step further on the Bridge install and say I'm hoping we'll be able to get a zip file of the Bridge installer so that it can be sucked into BES and pushed down to the client devices without us having to even touch the things.

I'm wondering about the Bridge policy though. I'm assuming that policy is not in BES 5 right now. So does that mean we'll have to upgrade BES before people can use Bridge, or will it be a "default set to Yes" kind of thing where if we need to restrict access to Bridge then we'd have to get the latest version of BES to be able to disable Bridge?

I'm not sure if you can access network files from the Playbook, but you can access files on the Playbook from the network. Enable file sharing on the Playbook and if you're running Windows open the 'Run' dialog and type in \\ipaddress of Playbook. This will load the PB as a network drive with the authentication details that you set on the PB.

FYI, I called RIM and asked the same simple question many of us have. Will we be able to get internet connection using our BB. The answer was yes. I asked why it wasnt on the site or on the spec sheet. He said he didnt know.
This is what WAS on the spec sheet on the PB site before they took it off.
High-speed connections
3G network access using your BlackBerry® smartphone as a modem
4G network access available on BlackBerry® 4G PlayBook™ tablet
Wi-Fi® 802.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth® 2.1+EDR

Access 3G network via BB as a modem which still isn't clear if it is via tethering or the BB data plan that we are all hoping for!

Tethering is through your bb data plan, in other words sharing 2 devices on on one data plan. Some carriers (like Rogers) have allowed this feature and not require you to add a data sharing plan which is more expensive. Same story with iPhone 4 mobile hotspot.

Below is what is advertised on Staples' website regarding the Playbook:

# 3G network access using your BlackBerry® smartphone as a modem; 4G network access available on BlackBerry® 4G PlayBook™ tablet
# Wirelessly connect to your BlackBerry® smartphone for real time access to: Email, calendar, address book, task list and BBM™

From what is advertised, I believed the bridging/pairing and tethering are going to be separate functions/programs; however, both are going to be available to the user.

Only gadgets with the "i" in front of the name makes major headlines for sales, its pathetic but true. The playbook & droid tabs will blow the ipad out of the water in functionality but they won't sell as good because of the "i" factor. If you wanted to start a franchise selling dog poop all you need to do is name it ipoop & people will be lined up opening day

lol, ipoo is what I call ipods.. Sad but true, people pay way too much for apple products and again when they need support. Oh well, us that know better will get the playbook or a droid tablet and not have to worry about being another sheep in the "i" heard. :)

This is ever so true; and ever so sad too. When I saw the line of iDiots lined up at the Apple store for the iPad2 most of them were playing games on thier iPad1's. As if they were some major step forward.

I'm sure the sales for the PlayBook will be brisk, but probably much less so than the iPad. However I'm guessing that once the initial hype of the PlayBook settles down, the economy improves further, and companies figure out that their corporate data will remain secure, corporations will be buying these for their executives and salespeople by the crateful, not one by one.

The Big Bank I work for is not going to allow them to be used with our corporate-owned BlackBerries until they test them and they don't have one to test yet! For this reason, I forsee the lines of buyers will be short going out the gate, but later on the sales will accelerate.

It looks goos but If I have to pay to use my data to tether on the blackberry playbook. I'm just not going to bother with this.

"If I have to pay to use my data to tether on the blackberry playbook. I'm just not going to bother with this"

Are there any carriers that have a clue whether you're tethered or not?

Mine can't. At least that's what they tell me.

Great questions earlier about app deployment and networking from murialita. We're hopefully seeing RIM Thursday so I'll ask!

If you see them I wouldn't mind hearing from u anything new. I do have one question I don't recall getting a proper anser. Usb hosting. I was disappointed to hear it wouldn't come with sd integration and usb hosting would be a good compromise

Rogers does offer some BB data plans that do not allow you to tether. I have a $55 - 1 GB CAN/U.S. data plan that prevents me from tethering my Rogers BB.

If the PB relies on tethering for non wifi data, that could be a deal breaker for me.

to go with a comment i made on another article stating, 'consumers don't need native apps if they have a full usable browser'.

enterprise users will already have BBs, and in this case the PlayBook will be an extension to their existing devices.

now thats 4 cents.

Does anyone know if BB bridge will be available on App world to those outside the US and Canada? I am in Australia and have pre ordered mine and I am hoping I can get the bridge for my 9700???

the whole lure of this product over the ipad was that you current blackberry owners could wirlessly pair their phone to the playbook and use the phones data that we already pay fore to browse the web at no additional cost. i have told many people at my job about this and convinced them to wait for the playbook as opposed to purchasing or receiving the ipad 2. after convincing many years ago to get the original storm they had their reservations about believing me, now i am going to really look like an idiot and should probably look for a new job. thanks for keeping it vague and then disappointing me again rimm

Anyone know which BES policies need to be activated for the PlayBook "Blackberry Bridge" to work, or more importantly what blocks it.

My company (a global bank with 100,000 plus employees and a sole Blackberry environment - presumably a good target environment) recently said it would Disbale the file transfer via BlackBerry Bluetooth channel, and this may impact some car systems address books.

On checking BES Policies, this appears to be:
Disable File Transfer IT policy rule
Description
This rule specifies whether to prevent a BlackBerry® device from exchanging files with supported Bluetooth® OBEX devices.

Is a fairly locked down BES environment -
We are also blocked from AppStore, Messenger (as communications need to be logged), GPS (Geolocation Policy? why I don't know)..

If I can get it to work I will defintely get the PlayBook, otherwise given the greater apps might be forced to the darkside.

And is there an OTA link for Bridge, for those with a "Disable BlackBerry AppWorld" set to true.

Hi Guys,

Need help here before i make the purchase. Planning to purchase 1 unit only for me & my wife to share.My question is, since both of us are using Blackberry. Will there be any problem for us to use the blackberry bridge to connect to our device seperately? Let say if im not current using the bridge, can my wife use it instead?Is this possible? Appreciate if you guys can help..

Is it true that Blackberry Bridge is not available for AT&T devices? I just got a new PlayBook and cannot pair it with my Blackberry since I cannot download Blackberry Bridge.