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.
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You can read through today's chat below.
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:
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?
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.