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FAQ: BlackBerry PlayBook Browser is Much Better than Simulator

PlayBook Simulator

We know that the BlackBerry Tablet OS built on QNX is a constant work in progress at RIM. I have heard from a few sources that RIM has almost daily OS builds coming out to employee devices. The thing is most users have only had a chance to play with the BlackBerry PlayBook Simulator which is VERY deceiving. For example, RIM recently updated the PlayBook simulator to include the browser with Flash support. The thing is if you try to go to a common Flash site like Facebooks flash games (think Farmville, etc)from the simulator it will crash. On the other hand I know many Facebook apps work like a charm on actual PlayBook devices.

I have yet to get to the source of why the browser on the simulator is not reflective of the actual device but from what I hear RIM is working on it. They even state the following in their release notes to developers:

BlackBerry PlayBook Browser Known Issues

The only reason I mention this is because I have had a few web/Flash developers ask me why the PlayBook browser sucked on Flash content. Just keep in mind the build RIM is offering us in the simulator is nowhere near the final product or even the OS they currently have on their own devices. RIM will be developing this baby until the last second and actually releasing an OS update that will load up the second you turn on the device when you buy it. So don’t fret if you are seeing quirks in the PlayBook simulator. Many of the issues have been fixed in recent builds and RIM plans on pushing out these OS updates without carrier intervention. Lets hope that stays true for the 3G and 4G variants!

4 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. There are numerous reasons the browser in the sim is so bad. One is that the sim is an x86 platform, while the real thing is ARM. That means it’s a separate build. It’s also clear from the content that it’s way, way older, and is not being kept in sync with the main code branch. Also it seems likely RIM is either deliberately keeping improvements out, to save them for release, or just doesn’t think the simulator needs to be any better. As far as some of the Flash issues go, we heard in 0.9.3 that there were issues with licensing for codecs on the simulator (as opposed to the real thing), so they had to strip a bunch. Probably affects 0.9.4 as well.

    Definitely the sim is not representative of what the real thing will be like.

  2. The browser in an early beta version of the actual PlyBook that I handled, had a couple of minor issues, but was surprisingly good. I can’t comment on the SIM though.

  3. Yeah that’s cool and all, but how does RIM expect developers to have cool stuff ready at launch when the only tool they have constantly crashes? That’s not very supportive of the developer community RIM so desperately needs if PlayBook is to compete from Day 1.

  4. David, do you really need the simulator to develop? I thought all you needed was the Adobe Air kit RIM links to

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