What's Up for the BlackBerry PlayBook gets updated, allows for point and view function and more

What's Up
By Jared DiPane on 17 Feb 2012 09:09 am EST

Back in September we got introduced to a rather awesome BlackBerry PlayBook application called What's Up. The application is an astronomy application that allows you to input your zip code and show real time updates of the position of the moon and sun as well as the position of the stars from your view. The developer has been hard at work behind the scenes updating the application and writing some API's to allow some new features to be implimented, and this update brings forth a new feature which is pretty neat. 

Now not only can you look at the stars through the GPS view by entering your zip code, but also you can now use the magnetometer of the PlayBook for a new "point and view" feature. This feature is still in beta, and uses an undocumented and unofficial API and will also require you to calibrate your devices magnetometer, but the application will walk you through the whole process. After PlayBook OS2 is released and the official API is available the calibration will become automatic. 

The application will set you back only 99 cents, but there is also a free trial available through BlackBerry App World. So what do you say, grab yourself a copy, take the kids out back and show them just how awesome your BlackBerry PlayBook really is?

More information/screenshots and to purchase What's Up
More information/screenshots and to download the trial of What's Up

Jared DiPane Jared DiPane "News Writer for Mobile Nations
Father | Husband | Chipotle Addict"
318 (articles) 6102 (forum posts)

Reader comments

What's Up for the BlackBerry PlayBook gets updated, allows for point and view function and more


"...The application is an astrology application that allows you.."

Astrology is the art of fortune-telling using zodiacal signs. This app is focused on astronomy - the study of stars.

This post needs an edit pronto. Astrology? Should be astronomy. The two are not even slightly related. For this you deserve a pretty savage reprimand. Sorry.

This is also the first app I downloaded when I got my PB. A great app.

/Device agnosticism or bust!

Happy top see this. My samsung 10.1 has this but the funny thing is my son's DS Lite has been able to do this for 5 years.

What software are you running on the DS Lite? Would like this on the DS Lite as well.

/Device agnosticism or bust!

great app however my playbook GPS sucks monkey butt, have never ever no matter where I am got the GPS to work.. lol

Other than that and backing up issues I love my PB.

I have this app simply because I homeschool my children & we love it! We have used it several times on nights just to look up at the stars and learn. GREAT APP!!! Can't wait for the OS 2 Update!


Hi @cdelcampo216,

Ty from RIM here. What a cool way to help your children navigate the universe! Another nifty application that PlayBook users may want to try out with really young children is the “I Can Write” app, which helps teach kids the alphabet: http://bbry.lv/yuAbke. Honestly, I’m a bit jealous that I didn’t have cool PlayBook apps like these when I went to school.

We always love hearing stories of how BlackBerry users are putting their apps and devices to work. Feel free to share some examples with us on Twitter (@BlackBerry) or on our Facebook page: http://bbry.lv/bdmrXv.

Ty, RIM Social Media Team

You're human and allowed to make mistakes. Don't sweat it.

Looks like a cool app. My wife was going on about something similar on her friend's iPhone. She may like this.

This is the author here and I want to thank you for your article. Speaking of wording errors, I would like to point out that step #7 in the calibration instructions (in the app's help screens) is another wording malfunction. The process is very simple but there is no "stop" button. I am always hanging around the CB PlayBook forums if you have any questions about this app.

I just noticed Maurice is a Canadian developer. He is most definitely an unsung hero of the PB platform. I honestly think that RIM should invest in his app, perhaps allow him the ability to hire a team, refine the UI and turn this hobby into an occupation for him. This app is a game-changer and if pre-loaded with the OS (even as a trial) it would certainly help PlayBook stand out in the recently crowded tablet market. For now, I will continue to support this app and provide feedback.

Well done, sir.

Yes, that "stop" button confused me for a while (actually the calibration process as a whole had me slightly confused - wasn't sure if I was turning it right lol) but I figured out that the button doesn't exist and to just back out of the magnetometer once it was set. I'm so grateful for this app. There isn't a night I've lived that I haven't looked up at the sky and gazed. This app is fantastic.

This app is only noteworthy if it gives the user an AR experience, superimposing the graphical shorthands (pan handle, astro signs, greeks etc, ) , and names of the stars and planets in the Sky as the viewer holds their playbook up to the sky. This is what you can do on Andorid and iOs.

Then with your thumbs still holding the tablet you can zoom in or out of space showing you more of the universe. this you cannot do on other platforms.

Good isn't good enough. It's time for greatness.

Have you tried it? You CAN do all of the above in the app...

The AR feature still a little jumpy, but it's a work in progress and he's always updating it, I have no doubt that in an future update it will make it even better.

This is certainly my goal. I hope that I am never in the position that iOS developers currently find themselves in. Once you have achieved the perfect app on the perfect device, there is really nothing to look forward to. I sort of like the way that RIM keeps putting obstacles in my path. I am a better developer because of it.

Seriously? It can do all that you've stated. You need to try it before suggesting brusquely that it doesn't measure up.

Great. Let us know when you're done creating the app. In the meantime, let's show some respect and appreciation for someone in the PB developer community who created a good app that only costs 99 cents and also provides a demo version.

I have utmost respect for this PB developer who I know very well. I am, in fact, the author of this app and I don't mind criticism from those who think I can do better.


This is a great app. I'm really glad to see the official API is coming too - thats really RIM's fault. A++ to the dev, and worth so much more than the cost of the app. Thanks for bringing this to the PB!

Hi, BuzzStarField.

I love your app! Before it, I didn't realize I can see the Big Dipper through my bedroom window, and the bright star next to the Moon is Mars!

I have one feature request though.. would you please consider adding a slider or some kind of control so that we can filter out the dimmer stars? Sometimes when the moon was (too) bright, or when the sun is not completely set, or I was watching the sky near some bright street lights, I can only pick out some brighter stars... so if I can filter out the dimmer stars in the app, it would help me identify faster what I am seeing in the sky. Thanks!!!

I'm having trouble getting the "point and view" working Love this app! This is one of the apps I most wanted to have, and I asked for it when the PB was 1st coming out. Bought it the 1st day I saw it available (I was in Mexico and couldn't get it downloaded until I got back to the states, If I recall correctly.) I've been waiting for the point and view to come. The calibration seems awkward.
Is there a setting to turn on the point and view feature that I'm just not seeing? My screen never moves, unless I manually move it with my fingers. (Yes, I;m on 1.5.0, btw)

Thanks for any help on this!

I'm also having trouble getting the "point and view" to work. The compass on the Magnetometer screen seem to respond to my movements though?


I let the playbook sit on the couch for 45 minutes now the point& view works!