I’ve been actively using the BlackBerry PlayBook since receiving an early unit after the Blackberry Playbook NY Launch Party last week. The unit along with the software are both currently in Beta, but all should be finalized once the new tablet enters the market tomorrow (there’s a pretty intelligent updater built in). And so, this isn’t much of a hands-on or review but just a few first impressions after a weekend with the unit. Just as a note, I’ve only had hands on experience with the first generation iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. In comparison, each of the mentioned units have their pros and cons. But for now with PlayBook as the new player to the market, there will definitely be a few extra cons. Most obvious is the new App World with just over 3000 apps but there are a few good pre-installed ones: YouTube, Kobo Books, Bing Maps, Word To Go, Sheet To Go, and Slideshow To Go. BlackBerry Bridge is an app for both the Playbook and Blackberry Phones with OS 5 and OS 6, this app would sync your BlackBerry Phone’s Mail, Calendar, Contacts and Notes with the PlayBook. Unfortunately, there are no native apps currently for mail, calendar, or contacts until later this Summer. In addition, Bridge will tether Blackberry Playbook to Phone, thus using the Phone’s data connection to the Internet. This is an app I have not yet tried since it’s not yet available, I have been told it will be available Tuesday morning.
The main app I’ve been using thus far is the web browser and it is the best tablet-based browser I’ve used up to date. The BlackBerry PlayBook browser gives you the full web experience with Flash, Java and other intricate web technologies that make up a good portion of the current World Wide Web. It even does a decent job of handling HTML5, like browsing the new Nike Better World website. For those who think the iPad 1 or 2 are too big, the BlackBerry PlayBook is ‘near’ pocket size and just a tad bigger then the Samsung Galaxy Tab, it fits into a jacket pocket but not your back pocket. It also packs a mean punch in the small package with a 8 hour battery life and quite a bit of processing power allow most apps I’ve tried to run fairly smoothly. Check out a few photos of the unpacking below and a few size comparison photos and look out for the BlackBerry Bridge hands on tomorrow.