You have your Playbook! Now what Blackberry Playbook Apps can you add to make it more fun and productive for you?
With BlackBerry Playbook apps, Research in Motion hopes that the quality will trump the numbers game led by the competition.
The current tablet environment today owes a lot to its smaller but more successful cousin, the smartphone.
Indeed many companies have decided to extend their existing mobile operating systems for use over tablets.
Perhaps the most glaring similarity of tablets and smartphones is the presence of apps.
A lot of industry folks and consumers have even measured the success of a tablet with the number of apps that are available.
What’s Behind the Blackberry Playbook Apps?
It is worth noting that the operating system running BlackBerry Playbook apps is a completely different platform than RIM smartphones are known for. The BlackBerry Tablet OS is based on the QNX Neutrino system, designed to take advantage of the multi-core hardware that is present in the Playbook. This allows for desktop-level multitasking and additional tricks that RIM can use to score a few extra points in the tablet wars. The new OS also maintains the seamless connection to enterprise servers that has made BlackBerry a favorite among corporate users. Interestingly, accessing e-mail and other apps in the Playbook may not be a hit to everyone.
The soundbytes are right: there is no native e-mail app in the Playbook. To check e-mail, the BlackBerry Bridge app must be running on both the tablet and your BlackBerry phone. As soon as the devices are connected through Bluetooth, the Playbook gets the ability to access e-mail, calendar, tasks, and other features. The step is necessary to ensure that communications are synced to the phone and reduce the security risks. An alternative is to check e-mail through the browser, though RIM has promised to release a native e-mail app through a future update to complement existing BlackBerry Playbook apps.
That being said, e-mail on the BlackBerry Playbook works really well. The size of the screen is optimized to present e-mails on one side and contents on the other. The controls are simple, and its simplicity is reflected on the other apps found on BlackBerry Bridge such as the calendar and tasks. They are not the most sophisticated out there, but they clearly get the job done.
Documents to Go
Despite the small caveat over e-mail, a host of BlackBerry Playbook apps fill the users for productivity. One such as app is Documents to Go, Playbook’s office suite. One can view documents and spreadsheets, as well as show presentations. Word and Excel files can also be edited. The free app comes with a premium version, which adds PDF reading functionality and other advanced features. It is a must-have for everyone, especially for seasoned Blackberry users, since e-mails often come with such attachments and collaboration happens even while one is on the go.
One of the powerful and popular Blackberry Playbook apps, Dropbox makes it easier to access and share certain files and media from other devices. Users drop a document or file into the app that is then synced to the Dropbox cloud. Aside from the usual ability to get hold of content, Dropbox also makes it easier to perform revisions, and it keeps a history of all the versions of the file. Recovery is also possible should a file get accidentally deleted. Dropbox for the Playbook is good alternative to attaching documents, and it also frees the tablet storage space.
One of the best Blackberry Playbook apps is ready after unboxing the hardware. Video looks great in the device thanks to the dual-core processor and the screen resolution (relative to the tablet’s size). Furthermore, it supports popular video codecs such as WMV, MPEG4, and h.264. High-definition videos play smooth with the controls elegantly appearing with a gesture. Videos inside the Playbook will appear as thumbnails when the player is first opened, categorized by all, downloaded, or recordings through the camera.
The excellent quality of video is somewhat limited by the current number of content. Blackberry Playbook apps that function like Netflix or Hulu will be a welcome addition and will definitely benefit RIM’s tablet in the long run. For the meantime, Playbook users will have to do with shared content and downloadable videos through the browser.
Social Networking Apps
Active Facebook users will be pleased that an app built specifically for the Playbook is now available. One can easily browse through news feeds, view friend profiles, update status, and post on walls. Uploading photos taken by the device is streamlined as well. Viewing links and videos behave like it is on desktop computers thanks to the media player and browser. Furthermore, one can chat while inside the app, something that other tablets could not do.
Twitter fans will have to wait until RIM releases an official app. There are third-party apps available though the best option for the moment is to use the browser. Tweetdeck, the popular Twitter app, may appear in the future since it was developed through Playbook-supported Adobe Air.
For a while the front-facing camera in the Playbook was only used for self-portraits. It was only recently that its full potential was realized with the release of Video Chat for Playbook. The app utilizes the BBID e-mail already used in BlackBerry Messenger. Video calls can be made over Wi-Fi, and the app is integrated to the OS through notifications. Cameras can also be switched for multiple views.
Browsing for Apps
Much has been said regarding the need to increase the apps for the BlackBerry Playbook. While this argument clearly has merit, the Playbook’s strong support for Webkit and Flash has certainly filled this void. Browsing in the Playbook is a treat despite it being a bit slower than competition. Flash support provides a more complete web experience that reduces the need for certain apps. It opens the ability to access videos and games that would have been otherwise been off-limits to tablets. RIM has also announced that Playbook will be able to run Android apps. With the Android Player, the BlackBerry Playbook will have access to an even larger library of apps. Ultimately, RIM has created a tablet that carries good value anytime.