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4 features I wish the PlayBook browser had…

The PlayBook has a great browser, with page load time and rendering that is just as good if not better then most desktop browsers. However there are still a few features that I wish that it had. Here are some of those features that I hope get implemented ASAP.

Organize bookmarks

Currently on the PlayBook there is no way to rearrange the bookmarks on the browser. Without being able to organize them, I find myself not using bookmarks on the PlayBook as much as I otherwise would. The PlayBook does include an edit mode for the bookmarks but the only option is to delete them.

Ability to edit the user agent

Given how great the PlayBook’s browser is, and how large the screen is, it is very annoying to be redirected to a mobile version of website. The reason this happens is that some websites get lazy and see the term “blackberry” in the user agent, and assume that you are using a phone. Being able to override the browser’s default user agent to instead identify itself as a desktop browser such as Chrome would allow this problem to go away.

Open new tabs without switching windows

On the PlayBook opening a new tab takes you away from your current page, to the new tab. Most of the time what I really want is to stay on the current page, and go to read the new tab at a later time. The image to the right shows the option for this setting in Firefox, and I would like to see a similar thing in the PlayBook’s browser.

Ad blocker

No one really likes to see ads, and with a browser that supports flash the situation on the PlayBook is worse. Furthermore you know that Google is never going to add this feature to the default Android browser, so RIM will gain a competitive edge there.

30 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Open new tabs without switching windows for sure

  2. I’d add one item to this list. The browser is missing a search function to search for text in the current page. Unless there is a way to do this, and I just missed it.

  3. there are many sites where you open a link if you only wanted to touch-and-scroll

    my greatest wish:
    use the bezel-area to scroll horizontally and vertically – this would be like using a trackpad and greatly enhance user experience

    • I agree with you. It doesn’t make sense for RIM not to use the sides for anything. They’re perfect for scrolling.

      • It does make sense when you think of how a user holds a tablet

        • It doesn’t to me.
          If I use both my hands, then the thumbs are both free for some scrolling action, they’re not resting on the glass.
          If I hold it with one hand, then one side is perfectly usable for a scrolling gesture.
          Scrolling on a website is not very user friendly when you need to just go down a little, etc.

          • mine are and pretty much every advertisement you watch for a tablet the persons thumb(s) cover the bezel. I’m not sure why you think scrolling a little is difficult cause it seems pretty easy on my PlayBook.

            There’s a reason every tablet has a bezel.

            • Every tablet has a bezel so that you can carry the tablet around or hold it without touching the screen.

              • So it’s unlikely you want your screen scrolling when you’re holding it or carrying it. How do you determine if the user was really wanting to scroll or if their hand just moved? How would it effect battery life to constantly be processing touch events because a user is just holding or carrying something? Having your finger on a touch enabled screen registers a lot of events even if you’re not moving the finger, so even if you had a mode where bezel scrolling is on or off you would still be processing an enormous amount of events in say 10minutes of holding the tablet.

                One of the first things I do on a new laptop is turn off the touchpad scrolling feature. You try to move the mouse and the stupid screen scrolls.

                I think this feature would be far more problematic from an implementation point of view than you know. And potentially be more annoying than useful.

                Now a better idea may be to just add a menu option to overlay or show scrollbars on the side and bottom of the display.

                • You would only enable the left or right bezel and users would be smart enough to always hold the tablet the same way.
                  I’m guessing that it would feel natural to 99% of users to have the right bezel work as a scrollable area since this is how it works with all browsers. It would only be smarter and not use any screen area.
                  Regarding the battery life, it wouldn’t be different from what you have now with the top and bottom bezels. The OS already has to monitor those.
                  Battery saving tips would include, putting the device to sleep before moving it around and switching to the desktop view to disable it, but I bet you that most users would carry the tablet holding it on the left if they knew that the area on the right was touch sensitive.

                • You can’t assume users are smart enough to do anything, when you start doing that your device/application becomes non user-friendly. Bad idea.

                  Forcing me to hold my tablet the same way all the time is ridiculous, I hold it all different ways. In portrait mode which is the right bezel? Why are you cutting out the whole market of people who are left handed? Why can’t I hold my tablet with my right hand if left is injured? Why did Steve Jobs just tell me I’m holding my iPhone wrong?

                  You’re making the assumption that the whole bezel registers touch. My money would be on a very small area around the display that actually registers touch events for the exact reason I said previously. The OS does not receive touch events outside of about 10-15 pixels around the display.

          • Plus I’m not even sure if that whole bezel can register touches. I know about a centimetre all around can. But outside of that I don’t know. At least it doesn’t get registered by the OS.

            • You might be right about a hardware limitation on this. Every current bezel gesture is from the bezel to the screen, so this is not an issue, but if you were to stay on the bezel for a complete gesture, it would probably get a bit buggy with the sensors.

        • normaly I hold it in my left hand
          and then it would be really cool to use the thumbs to scroll.
          ideally at the top there’s a quick-switch (like fixing the orientation) to enable/disable scrolling on bezels.
          there are so many sites out there not aware of a touch device and sometimes there’s no space where to tap to move the content horizontally or vertically.
          THIS scrolling feature would be another unique feature in the tablet market.
          comparing BB Touchscreen – SmartPhones with an iPhone or Android I always like the alternate way to navigate thru the TrackPad, because in some scenarios this is much more comfortable. the PB bezels could behave like a trackpad.

          • when you touch the screen in a scroll motion clicks aren’t sent. You can test this yourself by touching the screen on a link but scroll. The link will not execute.

            • It doesn’t always work, especially if you keep your finger on the screen when you’re done scrolling and there is an ad underneath your finger.
              Plus, you can’t start a scroll if you’re on Flash content, which makes it difficult to navigate some sites.
              Bezel scrolling would be so much smoother :).

  4. spot on with ‘organize bookmarks’!!!

  5. 1. RIM needs to allow extensions and let devs do the rest. No need to focus on adblock.
    2. Better JIT Javascript engine. The current one is way too slow for the major web apps such as Facebook and Google+.
    3. Java plugin
    4. Profiles, not just pr0n mode

    • Extensions would be nice, but I’m not sure if RIM actually wants to do that.

      I have to disagree with you on the Java plugin. I can not think of a single website that makes use of that anymore, and am pretty sure we don’t want to go back to those days.

      • I only mentioned Java because I’ve noticed that a couple of apps I’m using (Logmein, etc.) require it. It brings some features and an extra layer of security that are not available via HTML5 apps.
        Granted, I’d rather have a native Java app, but when the vendor doesn’t want to support the platform, it can be useful.

  6. I agree with the organize bookmarks and also the open new tabs in the background ideas.

    I don’t really mind the other two though, as I believe it should be up to the website to correctly detect what you’re using to view it, and ads are what support most of the sites we visit, so I have no problem viewing them.

  7. Why not post all this to the Blackberry blog or the Beta Zone? They actually do take these suggestions seriously: unfortunately too many people just post on unaffiliated blogs (nothing againts berryreview) instead of making suggestions where RIM can actually see them and implement these changes.

  8. Trust me I do daily and RIM listens.

  9. I’d like the option to have all links open in new tab. I use this option a lot if for example I’m using the NYT website rather than reading the article and then going back and having it open the home page again. If links are in new tab you just cancel the link page and voila you have the home page again.

  10. Here are the features I’d like to see in the PlayBook:
    1. Universal Search.
    2. Integrated apps like a Blackberry smartphone.
    3. Ability to print on any remote printer.
    4. Ability to create folders, and only one window pane that is separated by customizeable categories (all, media, games etc).
    5. Background apps that can be accessed on the top of the screen by swiping (like the pictures app)

  11. Very useful advicement!

  12. When opening a new tab, the current tabs will pop down for a couple seconds. Just hit the current tab and you will stay on the current page. This gets more difficult when you have a lot of tabs, and it’s not as nice as just staying on the current page, but it works.

  13. I love this tip because there are so many times where I want to check something out, but I am not done reading the current page. So by pressing and holding down on the link I want to open I can bring up a new navigation menu, and open the link in to a new tab. The image below shows the menu.

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