Hands on with the Blackberry Playbook

This morning I had an opportunity to check out the new tablet on the block, the Blackberry Playbook from Research in Motion.

Blackberry Playbook

Of course, I had to try the camera(s) on the Playbook (shot with the rear camera in low light):
Blackberry Playbook

It has a 3mp front facing camera and a 5mp rear facing camera which seemed pretty decent.

Blackberry Playbook
The Playbook fits easily inside the touchscreen area of my iPad 2.

Blackberry Playbook

What I found surprised me. Here’s my quick takeaways after playing with it for a brief amount of time:

I liked:

  • Form factor – fits nicely in your hand and is about the size of my Kindle 3 in it’s leather case which means it’s perfect for curling up on the couch with
  • rubberized back…something I like immensely over the Apple aluminum backed iPad
  • Multitouch bezels – let’s you swipe from the black bezel areas in order to get to options, switch apps, etc.
  • Multitasking – works as advertised and you can swipe from side to side in the bezel area to switch between apps
  • There is a file system! I was able to log into Flickr and use the uploader to access the breakfast photo I took and post it directly online – something I wish was possible with iOS

What I didn’t like:

  • App World – obviously it’s launch day so there aren’t a ton of apps…this should get better with time if enough people buy the Playbook. I’m still skeptical about the Android integration but we’ll see.
  • Custom connectors for HDMI – I’m sure it’s a space thing but it would have been nice to have a standard port instead of having to buy a dongle (could have been included at least)
  • Blackberry required for native email/contacts/calendar – this is a huge dropped ball…other than webmail, there is currently no native email app unless you pair with your BB. I can’t imagine any non-Blackberry owners getting one anytime soon until they release some native apps to address this (which I’m told is coming soon – but it should have been there on day 1)
  • cheesy neoprene case included in the box

I guess only time will tell if there is a market for the Playbook. It launched at 7am around North America and there wasn’t a single person lined up to buy one (most pre-ordered them I’m told). I also know that my company is giving them a pass, at least this year, which is a little surprising considering the Blackberry centric enterprise I work for.

My thanks to Elliott, Paul and Brittany at Future Shop for the hands on playtime with the Playbook.

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