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What Are RIM’s Plans for the PlayBook Front Facing Camera?

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Now that RIM has been showing off the BlackBerry PlayBook all around I have been wondering what their plans are for the front facing camera. Joe brought up the subject again on our article about the upcoming BBM Social Platform and it got me thinking. Right now RIM has just been showing off a simple camera app that lets you switch between the cameras on the front and back of the PlayBook. The cameras are sharp and have autofocus but RIM has not really shown off much more than that.


Joe brought up a good point though. What if RIM added video chat to BBM? Apple did something similar with FaceTime though most Android carriers have simply left it to third parties like Qik (now part of Skype) to handle these video chat conversations. On the other hand RIM could have a real hit on their hands and take BBM to the next level if it had a form of video chat built in.

Even without BBM I am waiting to see a Skype client for the PlayBook. I know RIM is going to be going after the enterprise with this platform using enterprise solutions like Cisco but consumers have shown there is a market for video chatting.

So do you think a Skype client will come to the PlayBook at launch? Will future BlackBerrys also have a front facing camera or will it be PlayBook only?

14 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. I think BR posted about a photo from CES that showed Skype on the Playbook’s Appworld app. It would seem it’s at least in the works.

    I agree though, native BBM video chat would be awesome, but it would only be Playbook owners that could really take advantage at first, as even the new generation Blackberries don’t seem to have front facing cameras.

    Still the new BBM social media platform would seem to naturally gravitate towards something like video chat for sure.

  2. Seeing as how I am a blackbery user who is jealous of iphone and ipad, I am very curious as to what this New Balckberry Playbook has to offer us. I love blackberry, but I sure want to join in the fun of using something like an ipad. I could use the camera for recording short messages for facebook or website postings while monitoring what’s going on. Sounds good.

  3. I was thinking the exact same thing; but RIM *really* needs to focus on their smartphones after the whole PlayBook hype is over. They *need* to step up their game NOW. Their OS is slowly deteriorating, and it would be awesome to see them come out with a QNX-powered smartphone that can actually compete with iOS and Android devices. A front-facing camera with videochat BBM on a smartphone as well as their tablet would be ah may zing.

    • Actually, Pablo, iOS is already showing its age! Since the PlayBook’s announcement with multi-processing, multi-threading, and multi-core support, Apple engineers must be working tooth & nail to beef up iOS to compete with Android and BlackBerry 7.

      RIM now has a tremendous OS platform upon which to launch the next generation of super-smartphones and tablets. Business Insider named the RIM acquisition of QNX the #1 Smartest Tech Acquisition of 2010. Indeed, not only did RIM acquire a killer OS, they also managed to build an entire platform for their new OS in just one year, the BlackBerry PlayBook.

      Yes, it has been a huge undertaking for a small company (I say “small” because they’re many times smaller than Apple), so I suppose because of it, we haven’t seen many “really new” (i.e., not refreshes) smartphone launches this past year, except for the Torch; however, I predict a lot of really new devices in the next 12-24 month as QNX-based smartphones are released to the masses.

      The next 10 months, we’ll see the last “hybrid” BlackBerrys sporting BB OS 6.1. There will still be excitement here, and those with BlackBerrys and PlayBooks will have a really good platform for apps. I’m looking forward to the Storm 3, with or without QNX (BlackBerry 7).

      I think we will see QNX on a smartphone by November! RIM missed the boat for the PlayBook this past Christmas. As a result, Android tablets took center-stage with the iPad, especially the Samsung Galaxy Tab. RIM won’t make that same mistake again!

  4. video calls!!!! yay!

  5. BBM with video would be awesome.

  6. Video bbm would be so amazing. That would really give Apple and Google something to be scared about. I hope that after the next , that RIM gives us biseo chat on bbm.

  7. It’s rather disappointing to see RIM work backwards. What I mean by this is that they are bringing their next frontier of goodies first to their tablet versus their handhelds. Social platform should have been introduced in 6.0, front-facing cameras aren’t anything new, I had already incorporated it into my concepts! Take a page from Apple’s design and development team already RIM and stop with the stubborness!

    • Well it’s funny you ask them to take a page from Apple, when their iPad 1 doesn’t even have a camera yet.

      What do you mean “your concepts”?

      • Wake up and read the some news already, Apple’s iPad 2 details are not speculations any longer. I was referring to the iPad 2. RIM weren’t basing it’s future designs on the iPad 1, but what the iPad 2 may have.

        My concept can be found here: – I had 300K hits in two days and RIM did peek @ I know that for a fact!

        • Hey I like your concepts! Very slick. I do hope RIM has taken a peek. But I think the product cycle of an actual manufacturer is different than just conceptualizing it and making it happen. So while you may have already “incorporated it into [you
          r] concepts”, it’s a different matter actually implementing it.

          I didn’t realize the iPad 2 features have been confirmed. Was there a press release? Do you have a link?

          But last I heard, it was a 1MP REAR camera.

          And the once-rumoured “Retina” super high res screen was unlikely according to the Daring Fireball.

          “Consider the timeline for the iPhone (and iPod Touch): three model years at the original resolution (iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS). Then came the iPhone 4 with the retina display. From what I’ve gathered about the iPad 2, it’s more analogous to the iPhone 3GS than the 3G. Spec-wise, the iPhone 3G differed from the original iPhone in only one significant way: the 3G networking support. The iPad 2 is more like the 3GS: faster processor, more RAM, better graphics performance — but, like the 3GS, still with the same display resolution as the original model.”

    • RIM is not “working backwards”. They already had working plans for a tablet when Apple beat them to market with the iPad. They wanted to release a tablet, so when they acquired QNX they targeted the tablet market first because it was easier to put QNX on a tablet to show off the performance of RIM’s new OS.

      I’m sure we will see QNX-based BlackBerrys by end of year with killa performance! This will really help drive the BlackBerry platform for years and years to come. “More than just a shot of adrenaline, more like a strapped on rocket launcher!” 🙂

  8. agreed. would be great on handheld.
    would be great on the playbook and would be 1 more incentive to buy.

  9. People actually listen to my drivel? It took RIM ages to recognize the genius of BBM. RIM leveraged their BlackBerry dominance in the past to launch BBM as a far better SMS, but even they were surprised by BBM’s success.

    Today, high school & college kids are buying BlackBerrys my the thousands because of it. I think they outnumber iPhones 4-1 in classrooms because of BBM. Now, Apple hopes to take the lead with FaceTime. I’m convinced RIM is building a video enabled BBM; however, what strikes me odd is that the new rumoured smartphones do not have front facing cameras like the PlayBook. What’s up with that? They can’t only make it available on the PlayBook as it won’t get the large deployed base necessary to succeed.

    FaceTime is on all iPhone 4s and it will be on the iPad 2 for sure. Apple has seen and studied the success of BBM on the BlackBerry platform, and so they are really pushing FaceTime as the leading iPhone’s killa app! I want to know what RIM’s response will be…

    Forget Skype and other third party products. They don’t define and uniquely identify a product as they’re usually available on multiple platforms.

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