As a Christmas present to myself, I bought a Blackberry Playbook. I’ve wanted a tablet for a while, but many of the Android tablets out there felt cheap and nasty to the touch. I also could not bring myself to pay ridiculous money for either a Samsung Galaxy Tab or an iPad.
One night over the holidays, I was reading about the 16GB Blackberry Playbook. I checked a local store and saw that it would be reduced to €219 as St. Stephens Days special. It would then return to €249 afterwards. It should be noted that the €249 is already a vastly reduced price. It was originally released at €469.99 when released.
Anyway, bright and early on St. Stephens Day, I hopped into the car and off I went to PC World to take a look at one. First impressions were that it was small. Solidly built, nice to hold, great screen, but still small. I pottered around the store and looked at other tablets, mainly Android ones, but something kept bringing me back to the Playbook. Eventually I gave in and purchased it. You know the story, it was in a sale, I had a voucher, I was practically saving money……
The initial setup was quite easy, next next next next, you get the idea. After initially playing with it for a while, I upgraded to the beta of OS 2.0. Why did I do that? Well first and foremost I like to tinker… Secondly, although the Playbook runs its own OS called QNX, it allows you to run many Android applications (.apk) that have been converted to Playbook applications (.bar). Not every Android app can be converted, there seems to be strict rules on what is and is not acceptable. I’m damned if I can find the forum post about what you can and can’t convert. If I do, I’ll update the blog.
I’ve installed the Android versions of Twitter, Facebook, Amazon Kindle and Handrite so far. All seem to work well and in the case of Facebook and Twitter are far superior to the versions that came preinstalled. There are some good native Playbook apps. I’ve installed BlueBox (a Dropbox client), Score Mobile (keeps me up to date on my sports results), Air Browser (a file manager) and Evernote (a note taking app that syncs between your PC/Tablet/Smartphone).
One of the most important aspects of any tablet, is battery life. I’ve been getting approximately 7 hours of use on a single charge. It’s hard to be exact as I don’t use it continuously all day. Unfortunately, I have other things to do aside from playing with gadgets. Officially, I should get 10 hours of standard use on a single charge, but just what standard use is, I don’t know!! In use, the Playbook is quick and responsive. The screen is fantastic and has a wide viewing angle. You can also access the Playbooks hard drive over wifi and upload or download files to it using this method. You don’t need any special drivers to do this, just open My Computer on Windows and type \\ followed by the ip address of the Playbook into the Address Bar, in my case it was \\192.168.1.45
One of the best resources for all thing Playbook and indeed Blackberry related, is Crackberry.com. The forum on the site is a wealth of information with answers to almost any Playbook related query you may have. After setting up your Playbook, the next thing I would do is head over there and register an account!
So, that’s it so far. I’m still coming to terms with the OS and its features. I’ll have to sit down and work out how to convert .apk files to .bar files and I await the official release of OS 2.0 slated for sometime in February. Hopefully, over the coming weeks and months, I’ll have a bit more to say about the Blackberry Playbook.