First Look: Using the Contacts application on BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0

By Adam Zeis on 21 Feb 2012 12:00 pm EST

Having a native contacts app on the BlackBerry PlayBook is awesome. Thanks to the new PlayBook 2.0 software, it's easier than ever to get your contact list on your PlayBook - all it takes is a few steps. If you have your contacts stored with your email service, just enter your account info, choose to sync contacts and you're done. If you want to import contacts from Outlook or the like, you'll have to tweak a bit more but it can be done (you'll need web access to your account - we'll get into that more later). Everything is there when you start up the app - contact info, recent social interactions, calendar info and much more. Check out the video above as we take a look at the native Contacts application on the BlackBerry PlayBook.

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

Reader comments

First Look: Using the Contacts application on BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0


I was so excited about this native contacts app. However, after seeing that you have to access your contacts via gmail, I have to say, this is a complete joke. You should be able to bring up bridge, view your contacts, and just hit a 'sync' button, then, all those contacts become native. I don't understand how rim missed this. The same goes for calendar, i'm so disapointed about this. Also, when doing this through gmail, PIN's are not saved. This is a complete JOKE!

it 100% did not. YOur facebook and email contacts probably synced, but NOT the contacts from your phone. Just got off the phone with RIM, they said there is no way to do this other than through your email. What I want to know is if I add my contacts via gmail, load it to playbook with all the contacts coming up, then, if i add a new contact on my 9900, does that automatically sync into gmail, and thus my playbook without any updating from me? Same goes for calendar.

Why the hell do we need to use a google service to make a Blackberry product work? This is disgusting.

Come on now! Don't you use Outlook for your primary contact mgmt software? If so, set up a GMAIL account to sync with Outlook. That's it. It's pretty damn simple.

No, not everyone uses Outlook. I'm use Apple Mail for example. I also don't have a Gmail account as I already have 3 email accounts including Hotmail.

I cannot believe that a company that is known for being the better business tool, wouldn't offer a way to sync your outlook contacts and calendar, just the way you can do such with Outlook and a Black Berry. Personally, I do not want to sync with Gmail. I think Google has enough control over us as it is. (That's a whole other issue folks)
Soon I fear I will have to log into Google to get money out of my bank account. I hope RIM will by pass the need for Black Berry users to have to use Google to do anything other than browse the internet.

By far the best contacts app out there on any platforms. The auto 'link' feature is very impressive, and it is also very easy to do it manually.

While the apps do look awesome, I have to agree that the inability to sync with, or even do a one-off import from contacts/calendar via bridge is rather disappointing.

Exactly!! I'm wondering how to get my contacts from my Blackberry right now... (without using Gmail)

I agree the Contacts App looks very beautiful. It will be useful for non-BlackBerry user; however, all my contacts are saved on my phone, not Gmail. I'd like to be able to sync all of the PIM information directly from my phone to my PlayBook. RIM please add this feature in asap if you are reading this.

Yeah, I agree. I don't have any contacts on my email accounts. They're all saved on my BB. I'd like to have the option to simply sync them up

Forget keeping the contacts / calendar synced without Google; we can't even IMPORT contacts or calendar events from the phone or outlook. Even the Desktop Manager is useless; it won't sync the tablet to Outlook.

What a trainwreck; I don't want to upload all my personal info to Google and I don't want to enter hundreds of contacts by hand.

The apps look nice but I'll never get a chance to use them until RIM builds this into the Bridge app or a new cloud service, or at least gives DM the ability to sync to Outlook.


"What I want to know is if I add my contacts via gmail, load it to playbook with all the contacts coming up, then, if i add a new contact on my 9900, does that automatically sync into gmail, and thus my playbook without any updating from me? Same goes for calendar."

Yes, if you download the Google Sync app at to your phone and set it up to automatically sync all your contacts and calendar on your phone it SHOULD work. I haven't tested it yet though.

Should being the key word soon as I set up my gmail and tried to sync contacts, all my entries in gmail contact (on PC) doubled or quadrupled and it ended up messing up everything from my Bold to my gmail to my Playbook contacts. Now even if I restore to a point in the past, I am still missing contacts. Something really fishy happened here and I lost a lot of contacts.

I was also disappointed when I tried to sync my phone contacts from my BB. Why should it be so difficult to get your contacts on the playbook. RIM should have thought about these issues before releasing the OS. Apart from some minor tweaks I am pretty happy with the new os. Just wandering also if we get the android player on the OS? I need applications like skype on my playbook.

Actually you can merge duplicate contacts. You just have to use the little chain like icon located at the bottom right corner ... The ONLY icon that Adam ignored in the video, which of course was the icon I wanted to hear about ;)

Ok, so i have been defending rim since last april and been waiting for os2 as a faithful follower...10 months later i get another HUGE disappointment...... All the above are true, i have a bbphone a playbook i bought early on and overpaid it and now i have a mail apps native so ye, but useless with no multimessage processing possibility, and a contact app without sync To my bb phone or outlook, same goes for calendar.... OH DONT MISS THIS: new languages are there in the interface and when you choose it on keyboard will not work.... Tey greek for example.... HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT RIM!!!!!!!

Ps1: i do not want To cloud my contact so give it a solution or close the darn company and give me a windows phone
Ps2: get your act together and give a solution within the week if at All appreciate us that give you our $$$$ are a rippoff and in terms of usefull the os2 is a joke for a bb phone and pb client, yeah that is right i will not be a CUSTOMER any more, i will be a CLIENT.... Get the difference i hope.....!!!!!
I am burning with disappointment and feel raped...again....

Crackberry rocks and has always been there for us, so please guys let the pplin RIM know they re about To put on the tumbestone if they do not sort things out about these issues... Again few hours after release and this time is the bb fanatics that are filling the net with negative comments... Please do something someoneeeee before i get to buy me a newwindows phone.... I want my bb dignity Back!

I hate to break the news to you, but the Windows Phones are ENTIRELY cloud synced. They sync via gmail and Windows Live/Hotmail. They can't even sync with standalone Outlook, only through an Exchange based server. Every OS is a compromise of some sort and I do hope they'll develop a local sync or phone sync soon.

True what you say and no news for me but thanks. The point is that from the release of windows8 onwards it will not be too long for local sync with higher integration and compatibility between windows pc and windows phone. It will sure take less time than it took RIM to get my hopes up, my money in their pockets and a semi-finalised software out... I swear to you you asked do me yesterday and every day before that and I would be defending rim all the way. My pb with bridge sirved well and still does butb this overpromise underdeliver from rim with the costs involved had to deal with for my playbook early on in Europe...that is legitimate complaint reasons to me I am sorry.

Security is an issue for me. I have sensitive information in my contacts and don't want that sync'd to the cloud. I'll just stick to using the bridge apps on my phone. The thing is, I would like to have been able to make use of the newer more feature-rich interfaces for Contacts & Calendar. Ah well... small sacrifice really. So much else that is good in the 2.0 release.

Oh right I am sorry if we hurt your sentiments with our "whining".
1. There is legal implications for not being able (and also not being willing wtf) to cloud my contacts and their details open on the network) so you give me a bad useless "fix" not a solution.

2. You omited to point out that not all the fields of the bb contacts or outlook would sync to Gmail and thus to pb native application.
3. Why do I have to give google or any other cloud apply for that matter the entire list of my clientele and business partners when it is what differentiates me in the market and. Took years for me to build? My peers work on trust and I have numbers that are too private of people that highly value their privacy.... Still think I am whining or you got me a solution?
It is not whining man it is the anger and disappointment you get when you get ripped off, let me explain:

Too much love for rim got me this result: bb torch cost 600€ that is 794USD.... Right I got a couple of bundles out before they then announced bb7 with mobiles and of course my brand new torch got the stick and no 7. Functionality. Adding to that my pb which I purchased after the whole deal of the phone cost me 700€,which is about 926USD which was about the price of an ipad in my country. OK so almost 2000usd worth of phone and tablet that don't get me wrong I love them and have worked for me but RIM itself treated me as the most insignificant and useless client, just promising for months and then not delivering... So if I am whining to your eyes then so be it dude,no one asked you to play the role of the"fixer" here with a cloud through google proposal as a supposed solution...

Not being able to sync the contacts or calendar directly from your phone is a real dealbreaker for me. And you can't even add your BlackBerry email account to the native message account? What's the point? I don't use Gmail and don't plan to either. Wtf!

While I do love the OS 2.0 and Bridge 2.0 functionality, I am a little disappointed myself that:

1. My Bold 9900 and PlayBook can't "share" native contacts so I don't have to maintain two different lists.

2. I am not able to route my email address to my PlayBook and have the corresponding calendar entries appear in my PlayBook calendar (see Issue #1).

3. The swipe gestures don't work for scrolling on the home screen or scrolling through pictures.

4. The Bridge app is missing "pinch to zoom" functionality

While #3 and #4 are relatively minor, #1 and #2 are pretty major things that I hope they are working on. Regardless, I am happy with the new OS and am looking forward to the updates as they continue to polish it.

I agree mnhockeycoach99. I tried to set up my verizon email address and when it said I had to use Bridge for it, I was pissed off. The native contacts thing is beyond unacceptable. I know RIM wanted to get a majority of this out to the public but again, it seems as if they're not taking care of some of the most basic things.

I hate to say it, but I had a feeling something would be missing. I just didn't think it would be leaving out a huge advantage of having a BB phone paired with the PB. Really disappointing RIM, and I am a huuuuge fan. Please fix this ASAP

Guess what? I bet that this is the FIRST thing that they update. Expect MANY updates as they tweak, 2.01 coming soon more than likely. It can be as easy as making the Playbook sync with Desktop Manager. Done!

dear jay, i sure hope you are right. Nonetheless it is a semi version once more...languages do not work and i am afraid that with mobile fusion out there they may not be Very interrested in us comon mortals that use bis and not bes... I just hope i am wrong and you re right.... I got from dead on supporting rim to about-To-give-up mood in no time dreams shattered and my faith fainted... So thanks for your positive tone and as said, hope you re right! :D

Big disappointment lots of features missing.there are no options when it comes to fonts
no sync of your PHONE CONTACTS to playbook.
Half of the anticipated features won't come for anytime soon as RIM will get busy into PB 2 it happened to all the 0S 5 CUSTOMERS who couldn't upgrade to OS 6......

Already have doubts on the BB10 Phones now.!!!!!!!

To me, PIM functionality in OS 2.0 is more useful to someone who doesn't have both a BB and PB. I've been using Bridge since Day 1 (for me, the day the Playbook came out) so I always wondered how RIM would address syncing issues between the phone and the PB if the PB got native PIM. It looks like there's still some bugs to work out, so for me, I'm sticking with Bridge. I also don't like that my e-mails, contact information, etc is on the tablet. If it gets stolen, that's a lot of my personal information floating out there. With Bridge, if my PB gets swiped, I don't have that same problem.

To be clear, iOS is far from perfect regarding synching and its warts become very visible when you have multiple devices. Not to mention, iMessages is such a mess that even iBGR called Apple out on that recently. I have Bento on my Macbook Pro along with Apple's PIM for its laptops and its a struggle to match everything up with my iPad 2, iPod Touch, and the Macbook Pro. Funny thing is, in this respect my 9930 plays nicer with my Macbook Pro than my Apple products do.

I'm happy with the other changes to OS 2.0, like typing with my 9930, and a web browser that seems to get better and better with every update. I also like having the Android Player if that means we'll see more apps for the PB. For me, although I don't plan to use the native PIM on the PB, I'm happy its there because its absense was a dealbreaker for many consumers and a bludgeon used by tech critics to beat RIM.

If having native PIM means more PBs get sold leading to a larger user base, more apps and more money for RIM, then it does the job for me even if I never use it.

You bring up an interesting point in the sense that if my PB gets stolen, I wouldn't want my personal information on there. I have pictures and contacts I'd prefer on my BB because of apps like App Lock that keep that info hidden. I'm guessing (hoping) that something like Blackberry Protect would help alleviate concerns about a stolen/missing PB (unless you can already do that then I take back the above). Who knows. I'm happy about a lot of 2.0 and thing it is a huge jump. Again, there is no perfect tablet so the upgrades are great. Unlike some of the naysayers, I'm happy that I have this product and eagerly wait to see how BB10 will change the game. I just wish that some things (like setting up a yahoo email address and my verizon one) wasn't so difficult.

" If you want to import contacts from Outlook or the like, you'll have to tweak a bit more but it can be done (you'll need web access to your account - we'll get into that more later). "

Any thoughts on this?

Rockin' the 9900

Everyone complaining about contacts not syncing over easily (or at all I think for someon BES??) should just CHIL OUT and think about your usage for a second.

Think about it, this only affects people who have a Blackberry phone right?

If you have a Blackberry phone you will have it with you at all times, and will be bridging anyway to use BBM on your Playbook right?

So if you're going to be bridging anyway why do you want/need your contacts duplicated on your PB? Just click on the Bridged contacts app and you're golden.

There may be a use case I'm not seeing, but it doesn't seem like a big deal to me. And syncing to Google works for 95% of the people I'm sure.

yes, not the functionality that i expected. however, i recall rim calling this social messaging.
i will still be using bridge because i cant think of a time i had my pb without my bb.

My thoughts & emotions have been all over the place with not being able to sync to Outlook. I think I am OS2 sleep-deprived and need to give it some time to learn about the update and mellow a little before I get too upset. Some inittial thoughts:
* Bridge still works and is great. I just really question why so much work would go into building such beautiful features like the 2.0 Calendar, Contacts, etc and not allow an easy port over from the bridged phone. This is supposed to be a business tablet and Outlook is key to the majority of business users. Seems strange, and I am hoping that is first on the agenda in an update. I want to make use of all those amazing new features.
* I cannot use cloud services like gmail for security reasons. Not an option. So for now those shiny new native features get moved to the bottom of the page in the "useless" section.
* I am sad and embarrassed. I have been talking up 2.0 like crazy to anyone that would listen. Our hospital has shown interest. I have been telling people to wait until after 2.0 to buy a tablet and that I think the PlayBook might be a good choice. Whereas before they really needed to own a BB phone too, that would not be the case soon. Now this. sigh.
* Still, 2.0 is amazing. The remote control feature alone is going to change my life!!! I can't wait to use it in a room full of iprofessionals to watch them start to salivate. I have a meeting with some members of Congress soon. They are so busy I bet even tho they all have BlackBerries they have no idea what is available to them now with the PlayBook. I really do think this is going to go a long way to helping RIM be a major contender in North America again. Those commercials are great and serve the important purpose of educating people to what they can do with a PB in very practical ways.
* I also want to say thanks to RIM for letting me have 2.0. I didn't have to buy the next generation of PlayBook to get it. And I am certain more goodness will be coming my way soon. RIM just had to get 2.0 out there before the iPad 3 launched.

Syncing Contacts from my BB was something I was really looking forward to. I use Outlook, so obviously this flaw is a major disappointment to me.
I hope Blackberry fixes this soon. Isn' this supposed to be a BUSINESS tablet?

I read all the posts in disappointment, thinking my BB contact would not sync, however somehow it worked for me.
I did turn Bridge ON which might have done the trick.
Now is OFF and bluetooth is turned OFF. There were a few contacts that were duplicates (BB vs FB vs Lindedin), however that was because some of their first names were shortened. Once I edited these with their full names, it removed the duplicate and synched all the info together. Same applies to phone numbers (+1 and area codes).
The only reason why I know this worked for me is because I have some contacts that are not on any social networking sites and I only have their phones numbers. These are now showing in my PB contacts list.
Did this work for anyone else?

Posted my few simple steps in the Playbook Forum. Hopefully this is a potential easy workaround.

I will do a few tests to confirm.

Sorry but no good news. After I relaunched Bridge, those 'contacts' were no longer there, any merge I had done were gone too. The missing info that I wish was added, no more.

Oh well, was worth the excitement. Now its up to RIM to provide a fix for this. Maybe ill just drop them a vist tomorrow, right around the corner where I work.

Un frickin believable!! No way to sync phone contacts and calander with PB??? WTF are you developers at RIM think?????? I dont give a #@$% about social apps I use my BB for work!!!! Its my office you bone heads!!!

I feel duped by RIM- the Android player everybody thought we were gonna get- we DIDN'T get and what's more...there aren't ANY decent Android apps in app world they all suck! I thought we were gonna get the Android that ACTUALLY plays ANDROID and we can open and download Android apps from the Android Market but NOPE! There isn't ANY IM Apps still- Skype, Yahoo Messenger, OoVoO or anything just the sucky video app that belongs to RIM and which I can't use cause nobody I know has a PlayBook! Then there's the books, I'm going to college and Kobo doens't have crap of the ones I need so I figured with Android we would get Amazon, Kindle, etc... NOPE! Not even a decent Navigation App... we didn't get anything, as far as I can tell we got duped...again! I've been so caught up in the bridge remote that the more I've been thinking about it the more I get pissed. So now, what can I use my PlayBook for...surfing the web! TOTALLY USELESS!!!

I'm not trash-my-BlackBerry upset about it, because my phone (with contacts) and I are inseparable, but I feel about Google pretty much like I feel about Apple. I can't believe there's not a way to import my Outlook contacts without using Google. Maybe it's just me, but I've not been able to duplicate the success claimed by Hume82.

My Facebook contacts came in but my Gmail/Google contacts did not. Any idea why not or hints how to import Gmail contacts into PB OS2?


Submitting personal and highly confidential information to a company that makes their money through advertising and whom can use and accesss that information as they see fit because you are using their service, seems a rather inadequate way of securing private and confidential information.( ie. Syncing with Google) read the fine print. I find this laughable as a solution. To anyone that has even suggested this as an appropiate way to sync contacts for what is claimed to be a secure business device, they must surely be very naive. I had, with all hopes, that BB would have stepped up. I can see now, that I should have spent my money on an ipad. By the way, I pretty much hate apple and their products. So, if a BB dev happens by this comment, be aware that your code flat out fails, in security and in serving the end user. The end result of this will be the fall of the company whose net profits have shunk more than significantly. Wake up and get your **** on point. Was that clear enough? FYI, I deal with highly confidential information every day and could easily cost my company hundreds of thousands of dollars if I allowed code to access private information. If BB was actually responsible for keeping private information private, I think they would react very differently. I highly request that BB either change this code or stop advertising their products as a business solution and advertise their products as toys for children.

My experience is much different, i just sync ed my bb Bold to OutLook using the BB Desktop software, then I sync-ed my Playbook with my BB Bold using BB Bridge. I used Desktop V6.1.0.38 software because I don't like the V7 as well.
Calender, Contacts, Tasks, MemoPad and Messages, all are there. I feel that they are secure, not like Google.