Since 6:40am today, when the OS 2.0 install completed, I have been toying around with my BlackBerry PlayBook looking for all the new bells and whistles and learning what’s new, what’s missing, and dare I mention, what’s buggy.
Keep in mind, this post is about my discoveries during day 1. I may, and probably have missed a fair bit.
The whole interface of 2.0 is different from version 1.x. To keep this short and simple, it is much like iOS for iPhones/iPads/Touch.
There is a “dock” where your top 1-6 apps can sit and be available no matter where you are.
All icons can be organized into folders with your own personal label.
You can many “pages” where you scroll sideways to see more icons.
When you minimize an app from full screen, the windows are larger than before with slightly different labeling below them.
Native Email, Calendar, and Contacts
The long demand for these three is finally over. You can set up all your emails (SMTP, Hotmail, Gmail, etc.) through the main menu system in a new area called Accounts. Along with this, you can enter in Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn. All messages (not Tweets or status updates) will show up within your Inbox. You also have the ability to sort your lists to show just one account.
The Calendar pulls in all events you have setup. So if you have calendar events in your Gmail/Google Calendar, they can be sync’d here. Same goes for Facebook events.
Contacts is fairly slick, as it will pull all contacts from those you follow on Twitter, and your friends on Facebook. Plus, of course, any contacts you sync’d from Gmail, Hotmail, etc.
I’ve seen the option to delete posts, and, my personal favorite… Wait for it… I CAN USE IT IN PORTRAIT MODE! Finally!
Now I just wish either RIM would make a native Twitter app, or Blaq (a Twitter app I’ve used from day one) would get this function in action.
This actually worked last night while I was still on OS 1.x. BlackBerry Remote was released within the Bridge app! I can remotely control my PlayBook by using the trackpad/screen, and enter text using my phone’s keyboard. Awesome!!
Also, the ability to open files from your phone, onto the PlayBook now works. For example, go find a picture on your BlackBerry smartphone. Then use the menu button, and find Open on <The Name of your PlayBook). Your PlayBook will magically come to life and open up that photo!
Print to Go
This doesn’t appear to be available for Mac yet. (Booo!) But from what I’ve read and seen, you install drivers on your PC. Then you go to whatever document you’d like, go to print it, and select “Print to Go” instead of your default printer. The files then appear on your PlayBook within the Print to Go app.
Read more about it here: http://ca.blackberry.com/apps-software/desktop/print-to-go.jsp
Bridge Browser is now File Browser
Something that drove me nuts was I could never open a lot of files from my phone to my PlayBook. They fixed this now by introducing File Browser. I noticed it’s also replaced the old Bridge Browser.
I opened a few files on my phone through this new app and it worked just fine. You just have to be patient with the speed of Bluetooth.
There has been a lot more confusion than I had imagined regarding Android apps. People expected to see the Android Market show up, and all Android apps be readily available.
Not the case at all.
RIM has made it ridiculously easy for developers to port their existing Android apps over to the compatible form used on the PlayBook. These apps are then submitted to BlackBerry App World.
When you’re looking through the apps, you won’t even know you downloaded an Android app until you run it and see that it’s within a player.
That said, it runs most apps just fine. I was very happy to find that WordPress for Android was in BB App World. I’ll be toying with this one later.
- Contacts App: I have quite a few contacts missing from Facebook. I noticed this right away when I could see my own wife was missing. Many photos are also not showing up from Twitter or Facebook contacts. It’s hit and miss. I also find it disappointing I cannot sync my contacts from my BlackBerry Torch 9800! Sure I can use the Bridge Contact App, but I think the option would be nice…
- Opening all three of the new apps, Messages, Contacts and Calendar has lead to one of them crashing. I can have all three open, but it’s occurred several times where one of the three will just close. Memory shortage?
- Messages, Contacts, and Calendar do not work in portrait mode. Yet the Bridge version of these do. …What?
- Video Store: Canada is getting no love! The Video Store was released with 2.0, and now people can buy and rent movies and shows from this new store through RIM. However, Canada is not getting this option. At least not yet. Disappointing… Yet I have to determine if my negative thoughts should be projected towards RIM or the Canadian Government. Time will tell.
- NetFlix and Skype: ‘nough said. I don’t want to beat a dead horse.
- Syncing Contacts and calendar from my phone to the native PlayBook apps. Normally redundant because of bridge. But there are times I have the PlayBook, and my phone is upstairs charging.
- Blogger App: I’d love to use an App instead of the browser to add posts to this blog, as well as my others. This one could happen though, so I may just have to wait a little longer.