After silently drooling over the usefulness of my wife’s iPad for the last few months, I finally gave in to temptation and decided to get a tablet. Of course, being a Blackberry man, I was ecstatic about the release of the Playbook. The Playbook OS is QNX, and ultra fast, light-weight, real time unix that I have been a fan of since college. I always felt that it would have been a wonderful system for Apple to have built OSX on, but it seems that Blackberry at least gets to beat Apple to the punch on something, anyway.
The Playbook has suffered from a rash of poor reviews, largely due to the lack of apps and RIM’s decision to release without the native PIM suite ready. These things obviously detract from the experience, especially the absence of email and messaging software.
I try to take the long view, though. This is a brand new tablet platform, and software environment will eventually get a complete host of apps, some useful, some not, just as is the case with the Apple app store as well as the Android marketplace. For the moment, though, it is mostly filled with what appear to be very mediocre experiments with the platform. Very few are worth the money at the moment.
The system is very slick, though. The navigation becomes very natural with very little effort, and the browser is lightening fast. The bridge functionality is excellent, although it will frustrate the unenlightened (read: non-Blackberry users) that it requires a Blackberry hand set to use.
Bridge is extremely cool. It gets overlooked as a stop-gap until RIM releases the official, native PIM, but it gives Blackberry users something important that a more typical suite might easily overlook. Messages are pushed to a Blackberry, rather than synchronized, as is the case with IMAP. Bridge maintains control over those messages on the hand held, rather than the tablet. That’s the right way, because a phone is going to stay with you much more than a tablet (new toy syndrome notwithstanding).
Bridge gives me an extra piece of awesome, too. The Bridge Browser, while not running at native speed, provides a decent web experience without tethering charges. That not only saves me money, but it keeps me feeling young by letting me pretend that I am sticking it to the man, and you just can’t put a price on that.
Therefore, I really hope that bridge is not condemned once RIM releases their PIM suite. I really want to see them add to it and give it the polish that RIM is so good at. I hope it continues as a special extra for BB users, and becomes fully integrated, which is one of the major areas of polish were RIM lords it over the competition
On another note, I also very humbly ask that whoever is in charge of the keyboard make it behave exactly as it does on my Blackberry. I am tired of having to type apostrophes and capitalize with a separate button, thank you very much.