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A worker demonstrates the new BlackBerry Playbook in the BlackBerry booth during the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center January 6, 2011.

Justin Sullivan/Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Research In Motion's tablet device, the PlayBook, hits stores Tuesday. Globe technology reporter Omar El Akkad has had a chance to use the device and assess its strengths and weaknesses. He'll take your questions about the PlayBook, RIM and tablet wars in a live discussion Monday at noon ET.

Click here for a mobile-friendly version of this chat.









<iframe src="http://www.coveritlive.com/index2.php/option=com_altcaster/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=1aae27553b/height=650/width=460" scrolling="no" height="650px" width="460px" frameBorder ="0" allowTransparency="true" ><a href="http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=1aae27553b" >Tech reporter Omar El Akkad on RIM's PlayBook launch</a></iframe>




You can read through today's chat below.

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11:59 Michael Snider:

Hello everyone and welcome to the chat. We've got Omar El Akkad lined up to take your questions on the BlackBerry PlayBook and debate the merits and shortcomings of the device.



If you've not already read up on the BlackBerry PlayBook, which launches tomorrow, read Omar's ROB cover story from Saturday. You find, along with the main story, a sidebar on QNX, a video review, an interactive, a photo gallery and... well, a lot of extras.



And to cap it off, Omar's written review of the PlayBook, which he received on Friday, has just been posted as well.



And please remember that this is a moderated chat, so all questions and comments go through me. I'll try and get as many up as I can.



12:01Omar El Akkad:

Hi everyone

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12:01 [Comment From mattyd]

just wondering if we would need a tethering plan on our mobile phone? bridge connect instead? thanks



12:04 Omar El Akkad:

Hi Mattyd. You won't need a plan if you have a BlackBerry smart phone. You just install the BlackBerry Bridge app and you can run your PlayBook's connection through your existing BlackBerry data plan. We haven't tested bridge yet, though, because RIM isn't putting the app out until launch time tomorrow



12:04 [Comment From vidman]

BBM? Will the "bridge" application allow BBM to work on the playbook?

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12:05 Omar El Akkad:

I believe so, vidman. Though, again, RIM hasn't given us access to the app yet, so we can't confirm



12:06 Michael Snider:

vidman -- here's a YouTube video i just found demonstrating BBM on playbook through the bridge. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q8XKWi27vU&feature=player_embedded



12:06 [Comment From corrado]

when will apps be available?



12:08 Omar El Akkad:

Corrado, RIM says there's be some 3000 apps available at launch for the PlayBook. From our tests, we found a bunch of really good ones, including the Slacker Radio and National Film Board of Canada apps (both come pre-loaded, I believe). Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff on the PlayBook app store right now isn't very good, and the selection as of now is poor.



12:08 [Comment From vidman]

ok. what about videoconference abilities. Heard that it may incorporate Google video (h.264svc) This would make my decision to purchase or hold off ..as for the apps we run on our corporate network will not allow this for iPad



12:08 [Comment From Tony]

Re: the calendaring and mail link to BB - are they the same as the Baylink Liberty type of connection, in that they require connection to the BB to function, or can you compose email/calendar entries while non-bridged, and the data will upload to the BB when bridged?



12:09 Omar El Akkad:

Tony, I think you need to be tethered to the BB in order to get these apps to function on the PlayBook. In other words, if you break the connection, your PlayBook app is no longer accessible, even to edit stuff offline. In essence, everything is stored on the phone only



12:10 Omar El Akkad:

In terms of videoconferencing, I've yet to see any software for it on the PlayBook, though I hear they may have something closer to the launch date for the cellular-equipped PlayBook launch, which I suspect will be in about 60 days or so.



12:11 Michael Snider:

Tony -- RIM says they'll be releasing stand-alone apps in the summer allowing you to connect to a BES directly.





12:11 [Comment From Lily]

how does it compare to the Ipad?



12:11 [Comment From Danny]

Is this device strictly for business people/companies OR can you see any recreational people purchasing it?



12:11 Michael Snider:

Two similar question that may have similar answers



12:12 [Comment From Jilissb]

Crackberry.com has tested Blackberry Bridge extensively (including video tutorials) and all of the features ie. email, calendar, BBM, etc, seem to be working well. The only feature that was disabled and could not be tested by Crackberry was the Blackberry Bridge internet connection (the reason you won't need a tethering plan from a carrier). Hope this helps.



12:12 Michael Snider:

Thanks



12:15 Omar El Akkad:

As for the iPad comparison question: There are things the PlayBook does better, such as outputting and playing HD video, and Web browsing (PlayBook does Flash better than any other tablet out there, iPad doesn't do Flash at all). Also, the PlayBook speakers are far better. But the iPad2 is a lot more polished and has far more apps, so if you're looking to play games and what not, the iPad is a much better choice. What's holding the PlayBook back the most right now are the many minor bugs in the system, which should be fixed soon but haven't been yet.



12:16 [Comment From Kesh]

I am really surprised with all the -ve reviews for the device. Especially the bad review from the WSJ last week. I thnk the smaller size nicer screen and the tehering option are just genius. Yes apple has gazillion apps but how many do you really need. With all the androd apps coming in a few months. I think the play book is the way to go. Don't you think all the -ve press that playbook has received is a bit over the top?



12:17 [Comment From Danny]

Any insight on pre-orders...are we going to need to be at places that are selling the Playbook early OR is there a good amount of supply?



12:18 Michael Snider:

Danny -- rim reported they're selling the PB all over, including your tradition tech stores such as bestbuy and future shop. Sears also announced they'd have it. i dont suspect you'll have an issue finding one if you want one.



12:18 [Comment From Vladimir]

Can you install Windows based software on the tablet?



12:19 Michael Snider:

Vlad -- i doubt it, though you never know what apps may roll out in the future. however, the PB browses the web like a computer and accessing Microsoft web-based sites through a browser should not be an issue.



12:19 [Comment From The Dice]

Do you know if RIM has set the price of the playbook? Does this mean all retailers will have to sell it for the same price.



12:19 Omar El Akkad:

Kesh, I think the tablet size thing is a matter of personal preference (I personally prefer the PlayBook's size for my streetcar commute). As for apps, I agree that you don't need all 400,000 iPhone and iPad apps, but the truth is I couldn't find very much quality at all in the PlayBook app store. But yes, that will change when Android apps come, but we don't know how good the emulator will be yet. I think reviewers were generally concerned that the PlayBook seems not quite polished enough to release to the market, even if a lot of the issues will be fixed soon.



12:20 Michael Snider:

RIM's price for this first wi-fi only model is $499, same as the 16GB iPad2. versions with 32 and 64GB or storage are $100 and $200 more expensive, respectively



12:20 [Comment From Mark]

I no longer have a BB smartphone, what exactly would I be able to do with the Playbook?



12:21 [Comment From Guest]

Why would I buy playbook if I dont have Blackberry?



12:21 [Comment From Mark Paul]

I no longer have a BB smartphone, what exactly would I be able to do with the Playbook?



12:22 Michael Snider:

Omar will tackle those three



12:22 [Comment From vidman]

sorry...not sure if you got my question...if I purchase a Playbook that is NON 3G/4G, is there a free upgrade path in 60 days when the 3G/4G is released?



12:23 Michael Snider:

vidman -- no. the 3G/4G versions will have extra guts that allow them to connect to a wireless network. they'll likely come in 16/32 and 64 GB versions as well. in other words, if you buy a wi-fi-only model, you'll always have to connect to the internet via your blackberry when you are outside of your home/work/coffee shop etc.. hotspots



12:24 [Comment From mikevolker]

Suggestion: if the playbook had blackberry cellphone capability, it would be a winner. Why carry two devices? Your story said the smaller playbook size was picked because of what people like to carry around with them. Why carry two similar devices?



12:24 Omar El Akkad:

So if you don't have a BlackBerry, you better have Web-based e-mail, because there's no built-in e-mail client (or contacts, or calendar). But you do get Flash, which means you can watch the kind of Web multimedia you won't be able to see with an Apple tablet. Also, you get to use your PlayBook like a network folder or USB, meaning you just plug it into your computer and drop whatever files you want on it (you also get to do wireless sharing of files from your PC through a Wi-Fi connection). But you don't get any kind of cellular Web access (you need a BB for that). Just Wi-Fi.



12:25 Michael Snider:

mikevolker -- as far as connectivity, RIM will be releasing versions that will do much of what a blackberry can do. but imaging holding it up to your face when you call home...



12:25 [Comment From Ramos]

What video formats does the Playbook really support? The reason is because I have experience with the Xoom and its video playback capabilities, although listed as supported, are poor to say the least.



12:27 [Comment From Tony]

Can you store more than one Bridged Blackberry connection or profile for quick switching between BB's?



12:27 Omar El Akkad:

Hi Mike. I believe RIM was thinking that a person would use their BB to type quick messages and check e-mail etc while on walking down the street or on the go, and then pull out the tablet during a subway ride or when they needed to view a pdf on a larger screen. But I also think security has a lot to do with it. I don't think the PlayBook, in its current iteration, is anywhere near as secure as a BlackBerry smart phone, so folks (especially in the enterprise world) aren't going to make it their sole device until they can be sure the thing is secure.



12:28 Michael Snider:

Tony -- we've not yet been aboe to test the bridge because it's not on the bb app store till tomorrow. however, bb's connect to the pb via bluetooth. i imagine there's a way to connect more than one phone. wait for an update later this week on omar's review.



12:29 [Comment From mattyd]

how long have you had a chance to use the device? i.e. do you suspect the above mentioned bugs will be fixed by tomorrow and...what bugs did you find with the current os? thanks



12:29 Omar El Akkad:

Ramos: the problem with answering your question is that my PlayBook doesn't give any reason why it won't play certain files, only a generic "Media Error" message. I tried playing an avi movie and got one of those errors, but I don't know if it was a glitch or a missing codec or what.



12:30 [Comment From Hit11]

I find the homerism among Canadian tech commentators to be distasteful. It seems as if most media outlets (and most user comments) are willfully ignoring the basic facts -- Blackberry is a declining brand at the moment, and the iPad is nearly impossible to beat. We won't be so rah-rah when this thing turns out to be a flop.



12:30 [Comment From mikevolker]

michael snider - of course you wouldn't hold it up to your face. you'd do what you already do - use a bluetooth earpiece.



12:30 Michael Snider:

touche



12:30 [Comment From Mark 2]

Hey Moderator! How about letting my questions through?!?



12:30 Michael Snider:

yours and the 200 others. working on it



12:32 [Comment From Bob]

You can tether with any type of phone, doesn't have to be a BB.



12:32 Omar El Akkad:

Mattyd, I've had the PlayBook since Friday morning, and have spent most of the weekend trying it out. I think a lot of these bugs can be fixed via software updates, and I hope RIM launches another software update before the thing goes on sale tomorrow. As for the OS, I just couldn't get it to crash at all, so it's very reliable. But it's also somewhat mysterious, by which I mean that some programs are killed off seemingly at random, and the user gets no message explaining why. Sometimes Web multimedia didn't load, and all I got was an exclamation mark where the video should be. Hopefully RIM adds some more error message info to explain what's going on in these cases.



12:33 Michael Snider:

tethering and BlackBerry bridge are two different things. if you have an android phone that can create your own mini hotspot, there's no reason you could not connect the PB to it. so yes, you can teher any phone with the right phone but no,. it wont give you access to your work's blackberry server



12:33 [Comment From Mark 2]

1. will the Playbook camera read a bar code? 2. Will the Java terminal emulator that runs on a bb run on the Playbook?



12:34 Omar El Akkad:

Hi Hit11: I don't think RIM is looking to beat the iPad with this thing (or if they are, they're being very, very ambitious). I think they're trying to find a new revenue source and update the operating system that currently powers all BlackBerrys, precisely because that old OS is not nearly as consumer-friendly as what Apple and Google have to offer.



12:35 [Comment From Brian F]

With RIM being blasted for having a product that is deemed to be "half ready", I just wanted to make a comment that it is "fully ready" for many people. Myself, I wanted a BB product that could sync with my BB, provide a larger screen for browsing and productivity and still be portable enough for entertainment apps. My comment.



12:35 [Comment From Spear]

The Playbook seems a lot like the Palm Foleo, especially since, at this point, it requires owning a Blackberry to access all of the features. The Foleo didn't end well for Palm. Is there a significant risk this might backfire on RIM in the same way?



12:36 [Comment From Joe]

Not sure I understand why the PB is a better choice than say the original Samsung Galaxy Tab in a 7" device, especially for the price. What am I not seeing?



12:37 Michael Snider:

Joe, i think it all comes down to what you want to do with it, whether you want a blackberry ecosystem or pure Android ecosystem



12:39 Omar El Akkad:

Spear: I think there's a very real risk that folks who don't own a BB aren't going to care about the first version of the PlayBook -- would you want a tablet that didn't come with built-in e-mail, contacts, calendar etc? But in a couple of months, the cellular-equipped PlayBook should ease some those issues, though.



12:40 [Comment From chase]

I believe 7" is small screen to watch movies...i.e netflix. I tried Galaxy tab and it felt like I am paying too much for so less.



12:41 Omar El Akkad:

Chase, I think that's the risk RIM is running with a 7-inch device -- basically, that a lot of folks don't want to watch video on a device that small. On the other hand, some people will like a more portable device, and the alternative for RIM would be to compete directly with the iPad in the 10-inch market, which is not an easy thing to do.



12:41 Michael Snider:

Mark -- tough to say right now. Will need to update you re reading QR barcodes. Omar looked for a working QR app but nothing is up yer. I assume that the functionality is there and when rim adds QR apps to their PB store then you'll be able to launch sites and such by scanning QR codes. You can on a blackberry, so the assumption isn't that risky



12:42 [Comment From ACURASHERWAY]

when browsing will Playbook mobile site (if available) or full site?



12:43 Michael Snider:

ACURASHERWAY -- it opens full sites when browsing, not mobile sites, though with the right URL it will open mobile sites. but that's not the default



12:43 Omar El Akkad:

Almost everything we tried on the Web browser brought up the full Web site, including Youtube and the Globe. eBay has some kind of PlayBook or mobile-specific site, but it's still in beta.



12:43 [Comment From Mike]

Now that Adobe is working on a fix to let iOS devices view flash, is there really a benefit of Playbook over say the iPad when browsing the web?



12:45 [Comment From ACURASHERWAY]

awesome..cant wait. Thanks!



12:45 Omar El Akkad:

Mike, I think the PlayBook will still do Flash better, by which I mean the way it displays Flash-heavy or Flash-only sites will still be faster. This is mostly because Adobe and RIM (who both have reasons to dislike Apple) have been working together for almost a year to build Flash capabilities into the PlayBook. Adobe was RIM's most important partner on this tablet project.



12:45 [Comment From vidman]

Mark...what about battery life on the PB. Heard in the past that the QNX code is a huge drain on the batt life. I know for a fact that when they do their demos..they always have it plugged into the wall. ??



12:46 [Comment From Hit11]

I remember reading a statistic that indicated that the vast majority of iPad users went Wi-Fi only -- including many users who bought the 3G model. So I don't understand this obsession with cell-equipped tablets. Seems to me that RIM should have built all the BB functionality into this model.



12:47 Omar El Akkad:

Vidman -- I had my PlayBook playing audio and games and a variety of other apps on and off until the battery died, and it took about six hours. RIM had hinted at 8-10 hours battery life



12:47 Michael Snider:

Hit11 -- your comment kind of contradicts itself. all BB functionality includes 3g connectivity, but i know what you mean. access to a BES for email, calendar etc... Well, that's coming in a patch upgrade this summer, RIM says. So the early version will allow connectivity to all BB-type functions over wi-fi



12:47 [Comment From Guest]

Is the rush to market due to panic over iPad's entrenchment, or a matter of sticking to an optimistic release announcement?



12:48 [Comment From Guest]

I live out of Gmail and it's integration with other Google services. Do you think the Playbook will have that functionality eventually?



12:48 Omar El Akkad:

Guest, on the rush to market front, your guess is as good as mine, but I strongly suspect it was a bit of both.



12:49 Michael Snider:

re gmail -- PB already does. gmail/google calendar etc are web-based services and over wifi the PB had no trouble going to the various websites



12:50 Omar El Akkad:

Yup, any time the PlayBook can send you to a Web-based service, it will. My review unit came pre-loaded with shortcuts to Gmail, Hotmail, YouNameItMail...



12:50 [Comment From vidman]

6 hours will not make the flight from Toronto to LA. Assume it will have a USB power adaptor ---or not? It was iterated that there is no USB...so, how do you power when there is not 3 prong plug in ?



12:51 Omar El Akkad:

Nope, am charging it via my computer's USB slot right now.



12:52 [Comment From Rudy]

Is the playbook interface "reactive" my wife has the blackberry torch and it still came across as 'constrained" (not as reactive relative to other mobile devices.



12:52 [Comment From Chubs]

Will Skype work on the Playbook?



12:53 Michael Snider:

Chubs -- although there's nothing official, i'd say yes. can't imagine why it would not. Found this just now, so i'd say it's likely: http://techd.in/gadgets/skype-on-blackberry-playbook/





12:54 Omar El Akkad:

Rudy, yeah, I hated the little lag on the Torch when it came to touch responsiveness. PlayBook feels much smoother. I still had some minor issues with swipes being mistaken as touches, and the screen orientation sometimes takes a while to catch up to the device being turned, but no touchscreen responsiveness issues.



12:54 Michael Snider:

also Chubs, rememebr a lot of biz types will be using it and they love these video chat features, so i suspect skype and many other vid-chat apps/services will eventually run on it.



12:55 [Comment From vidman]

k...so you have to have a laptop to recharge the playbook? sorry, dont mean to be a PR here...but how does the PB charge without a USB hard connection to a laptop? Must be some sort of low voltage adapter to charge?



12:56 [Comment From Mw]

wait for HTC Flyer or get PB now?



12:56 Omar El Akkad:

Yeah also it comes with a basic adapter (which I've managed to forget at home)



12:57 Michael Snider:

again Mw, it depends on the ecosystem you're most comfortable with and which is most useful to you



12:58 Omar El Akkad:

Mw, I'd also keep in mind the HP lineup of tablets due out later this year (not because HP has a history of making good tablets, but because they're going to use some of the Palm operating system software, which I personally found to be pretty smooth on the Pre, back in the day)



12:58 [Comment From Danny]

As a shareholder of RIM, are you being compensated for your work on this...WHY do I ask? I know for a fact that Apple pays big compenastion to various people for their reviews, no wonder why they are for the most part...very favourable!!!



1:00 Omar El Akkad:

Hi Danny. I don't have any RIM shares (or shares of any kind, as evident by my somewhat depressing bank account statement). As for Apple, I think I wrote a story they didn't like a while back, and they probably won't be inviting me to any events any time soon.



1:01 Michael Snider:

Also Danny, cynical Danny, The Globe does not accept payment or partial payment for any type of editorial coverage. I point to Omar's narrative of his recent trip to San Francisco for the iPad 2 launch (and his tormented sleep in a very 'adequate' hotel as good research on the topic. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/tech-news/all-hail-apples-remarkable-machine-and-were-not-talking-about-ipad-2/article1933337/



1:01 Michael Snider:

beat me to it. btw, i dont own rim either



1:02 Michael Snider:

Nor apple, for that matter



1:02 [Comment From Roger]

Can the Mobile Internet Services of various carriers be used for internet access (eg Rogers red USB stick). Thanks



1:02 [Comment From vidman]

omar...you state you are charging via USB...i was told that USB is not on the PB (per my comment to MS re: Rocketstick)...so there are USB ports?



1:04 Michael Snider:

vidman -- the playbook connects to a computer via a USB cord, but the slot in the playbook fits the micro end of the USB plug, not the big end. a mobile stick plugs into a laptop via a USB port, ie the fat end.



1:05 [Comment From Chubs]

I'm pretty stoked about the HTC Flyer, how about you Omar and Michael?



1:05 Michael Snider:

Have not seen it yet Chubs



1:05 [Comment From Danny]

Cynical Danny...please explain?!?!?!



1:05 Omar El Akkad:

Roger, I highly doubt you'll be able to use those services, at least on the initial PlayBook, because it doesn't have the hardware to handle that kind of connection. RIM is partnering with the major Canadian carriers on this device, though, so I wound't be surprised if it became an option on future versions of the PlayBook.



1:07 Michael Snider:

Danny -- a product of countless "being bought" criticisms in comments and discussions over the years. We get nothing out of writing reviews beyond the enjoyment of playing with the odd gadget. we don't keep them, either. they're either returned to sender or auctioned off/donated for charity. The Globe prides itself on being aboveboard on all of these things. We have a code of conduct we all must follow and an investment disclosure policy. and i was being a little playful there. don't take it personally.



1:08 [Comment From Chubs]

I love the modular architecture of the QNX OS, but not sold on the gesture system. Is it actually preferable to Honeycomb?



1:08 [Comment From androidfan]

I heard something about the PB may soon be able to run Android apps in a sandbox? Is it present on the one you have? Have you tried it?



1:08 [Comment From Joe]

@vidman: Many devices employ a cable with a proprietary connector at one end and USB at the other. I expect that's what they're doing here.



1:09 Michael Snider:

Joe -- the connector is your standard micro USB. if you lose it, you can grab a cord from an array of other devices you might have.



1:10 Omar El Akkad:

Chubs, the gesture system was weird at first, but after learning the way to minimize a window (swipe up from the bottom border) or bring up a main menu (swipe up), it became pretty useful. Problem is, a lot of programs don't have main menus, so sometimes you're just swiping a lot before realizing it's not doing anything.



1:11 Omar El Akkad:

Androidfan: The Android emulator doesn't come out until later in the summer (we have no hard date yet). Same goes for the BlackBerry app emulator. We haven't either one yet.



1:12 [Comment From Jeff]

Does the PB include a built in GPS?



1:12 Omar El Akkad:

Joe, indeed, I'm using a microUSB cable that came with an HTC phone to charge it right now, since my demo unit box only had a power adapter, not a microUSB cable



1:15 Michael Snider:

Jeff -- yes it has gps. the PB comes loaded with Bing Maps, and has a "locator" button on the app, but when we tried it it did not work. not absolutely sure why but we'll update the review tomorrow after launch.



1:15 Michael Snider:

Jeff -- yes, it's in the wifi version, more specifically



1:16 [Comment From Jeff]

Can you offer any impression of the view-ability of the PB screen in bright sunlight?



1:16 [Comment From Danny]

10-4...Thanks for your time!!!



1:16 Michael Snider:

Thank you



1:16 [Comment From Joe]

@Michael: Thanks for the clarification.



1:16 Michael Snider:

welcome. thanks for chatting



1:16 [Comment From Mw]

So If I don't own a BlackBerry and I don't live in Canada or the US, not much use for the PB right now is there?



1:16 Omar El Akkad:

Jeff: I don't think it does GPS. PB comes pre-loaded with Bing Maps, which is telling me GPS is unavailable.



1:18 Michael Snider:

well, if you have access to wifi, technically you can use it, but, yeah, the PB is a BlackBerry and I suspect people who use their BB's and live and work within their ecosystem will find more use for it than someone who has no connection to the RIM world



1:18 [Comment From Chubs]

Forcing devs to resign their apps with RIM may be a big hindrance to the PB app options. Do you think they'll design a VM to accommodate the full Android Market as is?



1:18 Omar El Akkad:

Sorry, I'm told it does have GPS. I just can't get it to work on my demo unit.



1:19 [Comment From Maiev]

The playbook has 3 connectors. [Micro USB, Standard][Micro HDMI][Proprietary Rapid Charger Port]



1:19 Michael Snider:

thanks



1:19 [Comment From Michael]

What is the battery life like?



1:19 Michael Snider:

Look above Michael, Omar wrote a bit about battery



1:19 [Comment From Mw]

App selection for PB is not very diverse now is it? Do you think it will pick up?



1:20 Michael Snider:

Correct and yes. Developers will be creating playbook apps, RIM has announced Android apps (after being vetted by RIM) will be available for PB in the summer



1:20 [Comment From Jeff]

I am still struggling to understand the Apps and how to get them. Can I buy android apps from an android store or must I wait until RIM delivers apps through their store (presumably after they have tested them)?



1:20 Omar El Akkad:

Chubs, I think they will make the full Android tablet market avilable, but the risk is that a lot of developers won't bother building PlayBook-specific apps when they can just design for Android.



1:22 Michael Snider:

Jeff -- you'll have to go through BlackBerry App World to download android apps when they become available. http://crackberry.com/press-release-rim-expands-application-ecosystem-blackberry-playbook-android-apps-playbook



1:22 [Comment From Frank]

Have you tried browsing over Bridge? For BB owners that presents a very cost effective alternative to 3G models. In fact it could make them moot if the functionality delivers on its promise.



1:22 Omar El Akkad:

Jeff, the PlayBook comes with a built-in app store. Just click the icon and you have access to all the PlayBook-specific apps. In the summer, one of those apps will be an Android app-player, which you can use to download and play Android apps. But I think the emulator will be the only way to run any Android stuff on your PlayBook, since RIM is worried about outside apps messing with the playBook's security.



1:23 Michael Snider:

Frank -- BB Bridge isn't active until launch day tomorrow, so we've not tried but will update the review on the site tomorrow after we give it a go.



1:23 [Comment From jeff leggett]

per your article -- the hardware is there, it is just not as polished as we'd like in terms of software. do you think the critics are "overly critical" of this issues. Every other manufacture sends out multiple updates--- if RIM manages this well it should be an amazing product.



1:23 [Comment From Chad]

Almost all reviews I have read in the body or the meat are positive, but have been spun with negative titles. It is clear there are still some things missing with the playbook, and the need to tether for certain BB apps is well advertised.



1:25 Omar El Akkad:

Jeff, I think reviewers were concerned because customers are being asked to pay as much as $700 for this tablet now, and expect on faith that RIM will fix a lot of these issues later. Certainly, my PlayStation and Windows machine are constantly downloading updates, but there's an expectation of a certain standard when a product hits stores, and for a lot reviewers, RIM simply didn't meet that standard.



1:25 Michael Snider:

We're going to wrap up shortly. Omar will get to these last few but questions and comments are thinning out. i'll go through and see if we've missed anything important. Thanks everyone for joining in and check back tomorrow -- say mid afternoon -- for an update on Omar's prod review re: the bridge: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/review-blackberry-playbook-tries-to-chart-a-path-between-work-and-fun/article1989513/



1:26 [Comment From Mw]

Any comments on the camera resolution? PB offers the best in terms of megapixels right now compared to other tabs right?



1:27 [Comment From Tony]

Is there a possibility it can be tethered to a phone other than a BlackBerry? If it does so via Bluetooth, I would assume one could tether an iPhone?



1:27 Omar El Akkad:

Mw, camera is very good. 5-megapixel front, 3megapixel back, both HD (although no video chat software yet). Still camera does 4:3 or 16:9 ratios. Video camera does 480, 720 or 1080p



1:30 Michael Snider:

i mentioned above tony -- tethering and balckberry bridge are two different things. if you have a phone that can create a wifi hotspot (i've tried a few, such as the nexus S), then you'll be able to connect the PB to the internet through the phone's 3G connection. however, you will not have access to blackberry enterprise servers because the connection isn't through the BB bridge. Eventually, when the tablet is updates with it's own native email and calendar apps, well, technically you should be able to tether to a non-blackberry phone and launch the email app, but i reserve the right to reverse that once RIM has fully updated this early version



1:30 [Comment From Mw]

Last question, RIM may have a "Hidden Agenda" with the PB we don't know about yet, could it not!?



1:31 Michael Snider:

Yes, to sell as many of them to businesses and consumers as they can. what do you mean by a hidden aganeda?



1:32 [Comment From SJ]

One more on Bridge. I'm thinking that as long as any blackberry has the bridge application, any blackberry can connect to any playbook. I'm thinking of purchasing one of these to share around the office with 4 or 6 coworkers.



1:32 Michael Snider:

good question -- again, without the bridge being active, tough to give a certain answer. we'll try that tomorrow



1:33 Omar El Akkad:

Mw, I think the agenda is pretty out in the open. RIM wants to use the QNX software on pretty much every gadget it makes as of 2012 or 2013. The traditional BB operating system is hitting a wall in terms of what it can actually do, and RIM can't afford to keep losing market share to Apple and Google-powered phones in the consumer market, because, eventually, RIM's core business clients may also switch.



1:33 Omar El Akkad:

The PlayBook is basically the first chance to show off QNX operating system



1:33 Omar El Akkad:

(on a RIM device, that is)



1:33 Michael Snider:

Ok all, that's it. Thanks very much for joining. feel free to keep the discussion going in the comments section. cheers all.

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