A couple of days ago we got our hands on the new Blackberry Playbook here in the UAE. The device looks sleek without any buttons on surface everything is controlled via hand gestures. It does however have a small on/off button above the screen on the edge along with a increase/decrease volume and pause play button.
When I started to fiddle with it I was lost and very unimpressed I opened an application and couldn’t figure out how to go back to the home screen and didn’t realize that in order for the gestures to work you have to start the gesture from the outer black border on the surface. In my mind I was thinking this is no iPad!
But then my friend took over and demo-ed it and explained how things work, and that’s when my impression started to slowly change. Perhaps the most interesting thing was the multi-tasking, he played an HD movie clip and opened the Need For Speed game application and they were both running together smoothly and you can easily switch between them quite easily. Now I thought why would anyone need to run a game and a video at the same time but then I realized the potential one could have running other useful applications at the same time and how quickly and easily you can switch between them.
Another neat feature is the Bridging option, where you can tether you’re Blackberry phone and instantly sync all your messages, emails, contacts, calendars and so one through bluetooth. The upside for this is that you can view your messages and emails on a bigger screen and it has more of a webmail feel to it.
However as we were testing it, I felt the size was a bit awkward it’s too small to carry or to put on your lap if you’re sitting down on a couch and we ended up placing it flat on the surface most of the time.
I think overall once you’re introduced to the gestures and get a hang of it, it’s a pretty good tablet. Of course that wouldn’t matter unless there are more apps to add value to the people with a Playbook. Or a decent app store that is supposedly going to re-open very very soon.
You can view videos of how it works below, we edited the video (poorly I’d say) and we had to remove the sound because there was to much going on in the background since this video was taken in an office in Dubai Media City: