Forgot your password?

Lets Clarify a Few Things About the BlackBerry PlayBook…

PlayBook Stacks Up 

For the last month or two I have been getting tons of questions from all directions about the BlackBerry PlayBook features and specifications. There seems to be a bit of confusion going around and I admit RIM has been a bit shy about sharing all the details but here are a few points I think we can answer solidly. Sadly RIM has yet to answer simple questions like the battery life beyond simply stating the battery capacity but RIM has promised it will be longer than the iPad which should be good enough for 95% of users. On the other hand many of the answers to these questions can be ferreted out of the Spec Sheet for the PlayBook. Let me know if I missed any!

Can the BlackBerry PlayBook connect to the internet through my BlackBerry 3G Smartphone?

We have clear confirmation from the specifications that the BlackBerry PlayBook will have “3G network access using your BlackBerry smartphone as a modem.” On top of that the device also has Wi-Fi a/b/g/n which covers hotspot access. RIM has already confirmed that there will be a 4G Sprint version in the summer and rumors have it that regular 3G and LTE versions will be available around the same time. From what I have heard from my sources the PlayBook will be able to have both a bridge connection and 3G network access over Bluetooth at the same time.

What information and features on my BlackBerry Smartphone will be available through the BlackBerry Bridge Bluetooth connection?

RIM has confused some potential users with this Bridge connection and what exactly it does. So far RIM has confirmed that the PlayBook will be shipping without the essential PIM applications that you use every day on your phone. These applications and services will only be available when connected over Bluetooth to your BlackBerry Smartphone. The exact services and information that will be available is Email, Calendar, Address Book, Tasks, and BBM. The things I noticed that are missing are notes and password keeper. Hopefully RIM alleviates the need for the bridge in the future so your PlayBook can always store this data.

Will the Bridge connection or 3G network modem allow you to access corporate resources through your BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server)?

This is where things get nice and cloudy. RIM has reiterated a few times that there will be no IT Policy for the PlayBook at launch. I find this odd for a company that established itself on enterprise device lockdown but I guess they needed to move quickly. What really confuses me is that RIM describes the PlayBook as “Built for Business” with these bullets:

  • Out of the box compatibility with BlackBerry Enterprise Server
    • Anybody have a clue what they mean by that?
  • Seamless pairing for a secure window into your BlackBerry Smartphone
    • AKA the “Bridge”
  • Corporate data access
    • This may just mean the bridge connection providing you data but I really hope it means you can access your corporate intranet through the BES MDS. On the other hand I am not sure how many companies would want remote access enabled from a device that does not have an IT Policy.
  • Secure and manageable
    • This is another nice and vague feature mention. No word on what kind of security or how it will be managed. :)

Well that’s about it for my BlackBerry PlayBook FAQ list. Let me know if I missed any you were curious about!

13 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. I will be good as long as I can tether via my BB phone. The other things will just be icing on the cake as I always have my phone with me. I just do NOT want to have to get another data plan that costs more money a month. So this will be a huge plus for existing BB owners.

  2. Thanks for the article. Its nice to get some clarification on some of these things. Now all I want to know is what its going to cost and when can I get it? I would also like some more info on the Dakota/Bold.

  3. Great writeup! I’m just happy to see that it’ll have wifi. I wouldn’t use 3G all that much because o have noticed -through consistent wifi use on my phone- that 3G is slow compared to wifi.

    I’m looking forward to it. Aaaannny day now :)

  4. It was good for RIM to immediately shut down those Battery Life rumours (by rumours i mean one analyst) before they spread.

    Now, probably the biggest question/issue that RIM has to clarify (besides price and availability) is the Bridge, and how it works. In general, many believe that you “need” a Blackberry to have E-Mail, the Internet, etc on your Playbook.

    This may be true in part at launch. Only partly true because you can of course access your email with the browser, and I’m sure the email providers like Google will have their own apps for the Playbook.

    The native PIM apps require a Blackberry Bridge connection. But RIM has confirmed that there will be native PIM apps in the future via a software update. It was confirmed on THIS site by Alex Kinsella who posted in the comments at the bottom of this post:

    http://www.berryreview.com/2011/01/18/blackberry-playbook-sans-blackberry-still-awesome/

  5. Being able to access the internet on the Playbook through my Blackberry 9700 is very important for international travel. Issues of 3G or 4G are mostly irrelevant outside of the USA.

  6. Some minor things I’m waiting to hear about from RIM:

    – Is the front glass any type of anti-scratch, anti-damange glass like Gorilla Glass or that new one from Asahi (Dragontrail)?

    – So.. about that rumour regarding Android compatibility…

    – Is there a 3G version coming as rumoured?

    – For the Bridge, I’ve read that BES admins would be able to configure how long the data stays on the Playbook after the Bridge connection is lost. Can this be configured for BIS users?

    – How does the Playbook handle voice calls when connected to a BB?

    • I want to know the answer to these questions as well!

      I really wonder if my carrier (t-mo) will have a fit if I tether. I signed up when they didn’t care. BUT that was before the first Android device ever came out. They might be a bit more picky now that there is a larger data load on the network. If they do care, at least I have WiFi available at home, school and work. But it would be nice to have tethering for when I am on the road!

      • I’m not familiar with how the Android phones work with the wifi hotspot function. Does the carrier know when this feature is used? It seemed like it wouldn’t look any different from normal data usage to the carrier.

        • I am not sure how their hotspot deal works either, my main point was that when I signed up for my BB there wasn’t much of any load (comparably) on the network. Now there is…

          By the way, you may have heard this by now that CrackBerry just released another podcast and answered the question about gorilla glass… Sadly it is not gorilla glass… :(

          • Damn, too bad.

            And what about GPS? Someone mentioned it in the forums , but I don’t think there has been any mention of it in the specs previewed.. it seems like something they wouldn’t leave out, and since we saw Poynt demoed at CES, it’s gotta have one right?

            • Also in the CB podcast. Once they announced or reveiled the chipset made by TI the WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS are built in. :)

  7. I guess that clears a thing or two up :-)

  8. Thanks for that!

BlackBerry© is a registered Trademark of BlackBerry Limited. BerryReview is in no way affiliated with BlackBerry Limited though sometimes their lawyers send us love letters...

Copyright © 2007-‘2016’ BerryReview LLC