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?