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RIM Can Innovate by Adding 3rd Party Browser Addons or Plugins


Over the years I have been waiting for RIM to rear their creative heads and start pushing the mobile space further than their usual limits. They have truly started doing this with the BlackBerry PlayBook but the device lacks signature features like email and BBM on the BlackBerry smartphones. It does Flash, web browsing, multitasking, etc very well but what I want is RIM to start leading the pack with features. The specific feature I have in mind for RIM to do first is allow for 3rd party browser plugins.

If any of you have used Firefox or Google Chrome you are probably familiar with what Firefox calls addons and what Google Chrome calls extensions but I will simply call them addons from now on. These addons let 3rd party developers extend the BlackBerry browser to do things it could not normally do or would require RIM to build it into the current OS. While Mozilla really made addons popular with Firefox I hope RIM can bring the same concept to the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Here is a sample of some of my favorite addons in Firefox:

  • KeeFox – While I used to use LastPass password manager they were hacked recently. KeeFox performs many of the same functions allow me to save my passwords so I don’t have to keep entering them in on my PlayBook!
  • AutoFill Forms – This addon speaks for itself. I would love if I could autofill forms on my PlayBook.
  • XMarks Sync – One of my favorite features in my browser is keeping all of my bookmarks in sync between them all. This is a must have plugin for RIM.
  • FlashBlock – While I think Flash support is awesome it does use CPU and slow down page load speeds. I really wish RIM would allow a developer to be able to let you toggle Flash elements like you can with FlashBlock.
  • UserAgent Switcher – This addon allows me to change how my browser identifies itself to servers. For example, I can make servers think my desktop browser is a BlackBerry PlayBook. I would love to be able to do the opposite on my PlayBook.

There are a ton more but this is exactly what I am talking about. These are the features users expect in a full fledged browser and except for Firefox for Android nobody has done them on a smartphone or tablet yet. With RIM showing off Web Inspector it seems like they finally do have the ability to give developers access to these functions. It would be really awesome if very soon we could install browser addons from App World…

What do you think about browser addons for the PlayBook or even BlackBerry smartphones?

8 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Think the main thing we need right now is an adblocker in general (with a whitelist + blacklist), rather than just a flash blocker (especially for ads that popup in a new window entirely).

    We have no way to modify the hosts file and 3rd party apps aren’t going to currently affect the browser in general.

    Toggling flash elements in addition would be nice also for speed, but personally i’d rank it below an adblocker.

  2. I would easily pay $10 for AdBlock+ for my Playbook.. The Flash support in the browser is awesome. The Flash ads that load, that I’m used to never seeing in Firefox really suck…

  3. I can’t wait for Add-Ons, this is exactly what I’ve been waiting on! This makes me even more excited about my Playbook over the Android and Apple, although I must say…I’m getting antsy about waiting for the next update.

  4. I second the request for autofill. But for use on a mobile device, the user should have the choice to enable it only after password is entered.

  5. The ability to use addons would really set the Playbook browser apart from the competition – and be very helpful for users. I think it’s a great idea!

  6. Really? People are still holding onto a wing and a prayer for the Playbook? RIM stock has plummeted over 25% since the launch of this dog. Guess folks just like their mutts.

  7. I would love to see this option.

    Additionally I would like to see an add on that can allow you to set if your prefer the mobile version of a site or not. A tablet is in between, and sometimes the mobile site is better, and sometimes it is not.

  8. It’s been mentioned in the dev forums before and there is even a ticket open. Let’s see how much time it will take for RIM to move forward :)

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