Thursday, April 14, 2011

BlackBerry PlayBook In the Wild: First Impressions

By Ray Nicolini
Developers who submitted, and had apps approved are starting to receive their PlayBooks. These are different than the review models that we’ve seen reviewed on other sites. They are not fully functional…yet. We have it on good authority that everything will be enabled on April 19th. So what works right now?
The browser and the camera. There are different stories on this. Some say they can’t get past the BlackBerry ID screen and others say they can see all the icons as usual, but only the browser and camera actually work.
Here are some interesting tidbits we found out about these preemie PlayBooks. My thoughts are in brackets:
  • Boot time: Approximately 65 secondsblackberry-playbook-software-update-2
  • Started at OS Upgraded to Reboot required. (This is already a bunch of builds past at least one of the versions we’ve seen. OS can be clearly seen in the CB review/novel right before the web browser section).
  • Has a PIN etched into the back about 1 inch below the BB logo. Tough to see. But its there. (Haven’t seen this before either. I wonder if its a standard feature. You can tell in some of the other reviews that there is something under the logo in the back…)
  • Battery: 45% out of the box down to about 10% after HEAVY nonstop usage for 3hrs plus. Including streaming video for over an hour.  Finally died after 4 hrs 20 min. Over 9hrs estimated total. (Looks like the 8-10hr estimate holds)
  • Only the camera and browser are functional for now.
  • Has an LED in front (top right) very similar to those on a BB. Turns on when booting for about 2 seconds. (Never heard of or seen this before. Very curious)
  • Also a notification  in top left corner of the screen (we’ve seen this glowing red effect before). When you touch it, it tells you why its glowing with a popup. (This makes me wonder if this space will be reserved strictly for low battery notifications, or if it will work in tandem with the standard LED light.)
  • Recognized a visio document from the email in the browser. (I’m not sure how this file format will be supported, if at all, but I found it interesting that it was recognized.
  • Keyboard is fluid and fast. Way better than iPad. Typing with thumbs in portrait is nice. (Even with virtual keyboards, RIM seems to be superior Smile)
  • Website loading speed comparable to iPad. (This could have something to do with flash vs. no flash. ie. If a site has flash content, an iPad will not load it at all, whereas a PlayBook will which should take longer. But it doesn’t seem to).
  • Software update. If less than 20% battery prompts to connect to power source before upgrading.
  • Comes with charger and pouch. (No micro HDMI cable Sad smile. I’m not sure what is included in the retail package)
  • Camera, easy to use your thumb to take picture because of small size.
  • Gestures are very convenient.
  • Wi-fi radio is strong. (Picks up networks they didn’t know existed.)
  • The screen is big enough and so portable.
  • People are going to love this device.
More screenshots below.
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