Coincidentally enough, we’re actually taken by surprise to see a dedicated YouTube client on board with the PlayBook from the beginning. However, it’s vastly underpowered in terms of features because it lacks the ability to sign into your account, upload videos, rate stuff, and post comments. In reality, it’s nothing more than a facade to allow you to easily watch content, but the experience is less than engaging obviously since we’re locked out of some common features. Moreover, videos generally play in the highest quality – which means, you can potentially rack up some serious data if you’re tethered to a BlackBerry smartphone, as opposed to Wi-Fi.
Bing Maps doesn’t offer the depth of features found with its closest rival in Google Maps, but you nonetheless have a maps experience with the PlayBook. Thankfully though, you can still get the usual set of directions to get you from one place to another without making things too complicated. Whether it’s walking, driving, or mass transit, it’s all there, but don’t expect to find voice guided instructions with it. Moreover, you’ve got four different views to choose from, but the only one that’s not something you generally expect to find is the bird’s eye view. In this mode, it simply presents a perspective look of the aerial view where you can orient the map to your liking. Aside from that, you’ve got the usual assortment of features with it – like honing into your GPS location, viewing relevant information with businesses, and the ability to view traffic.
For anyone familiar with the Kobo Books app, it’s the one area where you’ll get your ebooks fix – while having the ability to purchase ebooks through its online store. Again, there’s nothing too different with its operation, seeing that it’s your clear-cut ebook reading app, but It’s unfortunate that no animations are incorporated when flipping pages.
In keeping true to its professional grade status, the PlayBook’s productivity aspect is supplemented by the inclusion of Data Viz’s Suite of Office apps. Boasting Word To Go, Sheet To Go, and Slideshow to Go, it’s remarkably sufficient in handling even the most demanding needs out there. Frankly, we’re more impressed by the fact that you’re able to compose and edit Word and Excel files on the go with the PlayBook. However, it’s worth knowing that the Slideshow to Go app will only play your PowerPoint presentation – and nothing more. Regardless, the included set of apps is indeed invaluable for those business professionals who require some added flexibility with a tablet.
Grazing the tip of the iceberg, RIM’s QNX based platform still requires some work in order for it to soundly compete on the same level as its competition, and if it’s unable to make those key adjustments early on in its life, we may see an early demise that would certainly shut the door on their hard work. For starters, this platform should’ve been used for RIM’s BlackBerry OS 6 seeing that it’s a stark departure from their usual vantage point. However, it fittingly makes its debut on a totally new product segment – which is naturally the ideal thing to do in order to showcase a brand new platform like this.
Without a doubt, RIM hit the bull’s-eye on this one when it comes to delivering an exceptionally fitting platform for multi-tasking. Combining its wickedly responsive performance and gesture heavy interface, the elements combine together to form a well-balanced experience that’s satisfyingly stable and intuitive from the onset. However, they really need to bring core services, like a dedicated email client and calendar, without the need to tether it via BlackBerry Bridge. In fact, its usability for being a “professional grade” tablet is mostly limited by this aspect – not to mention forced as well seeing that you’re required to have a BlackBerry smartphone in order to unlock certain services.
Until that happens, there’s no arguing that tablet platforms like iOS and Android clearly have the upper hand in offering a resounding and complete tablet experience. Moreover, third party app support will greatly contribute to its rise, but as it stands right now, it’s lacking any to keep a solid interest in the platform. Frankly, we’ll be keeping a close eye with its development, especially when Android apps support launches, but until then, you’d have to be a diehard BlackBerry user to accept the PlayBook’s incomplete experience.
BlackBerry PlayBook QNX Platform Video Walkthrough: