The Blackberry Playbook has been released for quite some time now but we have just recently gotten around to developing for Blackberry and we figured the next logical step was the Playbook. This device has also been the buzz of the Android Development community as Blackberry is enticing Android developers to port their applications over to Blackberry. This has been made possible by the forthcoming 2.0 update that allows the Playbook to run Android application in the Blackberry Playbook environment. We are excited to test out the playbook, put it through its paces and have you hope below to find out our results?
We are going to start at what has become the standard here at Binary Wasteland; the screen. This 7” LCD display that is capable of 1024×600 resolution. The screen is capacitive and multi-touch enabled as well as a WSVGA screen. Moving onto the left and right sides of the screen we have the speakers positioned on the edges of the screen projecting the sound at you, unlike the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 were the speakers were on the sides of the device. On the top of the Playbook there is the power button, volume rockers and a play/pause button. The bottom is home to the charging port, the dock charger and mini-HDMI input to project images onto your display. Looking past the superficial to the hardware being sported inside the PlayBook is quite powerful in sense of performance, not most current hardware. The PlayBook sports a 1GHz dual-core processor with 1 GB of RAM, the standard accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer and GPS are all bundled into the 5.1”x7.6”x0.4” PlayBook as well. This all bundles together to make way for the operating system the PlayBook has running on it.
Out of the box we set up our PlayBook, walked through the tutorials and were prompted for an update. This update is NOT the 2.0 upgrade, but instead an upgrade to the current 1.0 OS. The OS is very clean, snappy and innovative. We like to use innovative for the PlayBook because of the way the bezel which surrounds the LCD screen is also touch sensitive. We will tell you that this does not deter from the PlayBook experience but in fact enhances it. For example, to exit an application swipe up from the bezel onto the LCD screen to either multitask or close the application. This is quite a different approach than using a soft home button for Android or the hard button for home on the iPad. We did notice that the PlayBook did suffer a lack of applications in the App World as we tried to bring our PlayBook up to speed with our other devices. This of course is looking to be remedied by the release of PlayBook 2.0 which has an added layer to enable Android applications to be run on the PlayBook with minimal modification and submission to the App World.
The cameras on the playbook are positioned in the standard places. The front facing camera is a 3MP camera that is actually quite good in comparison to todays cameras that are anywhere from VGA to 1.3MP. The rear facing camera is 5MP and can be seen demonstrated below in the first picture. The front facing camera is the second image below and as you can see, it is still quite stunning. The front facing camera also is capable of making video calls through Blackberry Video Chat application, although people have requested that Tango port their application over to the PlayBook which may happen with the coming of 2.0 OS update.
Battery life amongst tablets is always in high contention due to the overwhelming contention with what should be run to test battery life. Binary Wasteland believes that everyday use is the standard and that is exactly what we did. Since the Blackberry Playbook needs to be bridged to a Blackberry device to receive BBM, email and other standard things we like to test we decided to try a different method. We downloaded an entire season of Big Bang Theory to see how far we could get before the battery died and were only just over 50% battery life. We figure that if the a Blackberry was bridged to the device, receiving BBM’s and emails would not deter from this solid devices battery life. This is also under the assumption that we are using our Blackberry Bold 9900 with all emails, Twitter, Facebook and BBM going. All in all the PlayBook can compete with the best of the tablets when it comes to battery life.
The PlayBook has worked its way through all of our tests that we enjoy putting gadgets though to see if they can take the developers lifestyle. The Playbook, with the help of the Defender Series OtterBox has made it through all of the physical tests and software stress tests. We enjoyed using the PlayBook as it felt like we were using the Blackberry OS software but it felt different and refreshing. It is a different take on an OS platform than Android, iOS and Windows has taken but that is what the development industry needs is more competition to inspire growth and change. With the update to the platform reaching 2.0 soon and enabling Android applications a spot in the App World marketplace is sure to stir the pot and we will be there when it happens. Check out the gallery below for pictures of our slick new PlayBook. Until the next review, Happy Hacking!