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!