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Hands-on with the BlackBerry Playbook

This morning, we had an intimate encounter with the BlackBerry Playbook. Representatives from RIM took us on a BB Playbook bus, went around Ayala while demo-ing their upcoming tablet.

Unlike the other tablets out there where you have menus or at least a Home button, the BB Playbook does not have anything on the screen except the screen itself. The small power button is placed on the top of the device, along with a playback button and volume controls.

The Playbook’s navigation relies on the edges of the screen (the bezel part) and gestures from that end activates several menus and controls the panels/windows for individual apps that’s running in the background.

The tablet is very thin at just 9.7mm and weighs about 0.9lb (400g, has a little bit of heft). It supports WebKit/HTML5, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile Air, POSIX, OpenGL and Java. The tablet can also do video playback in full 1080p HD, H.264, MPEG, DivX or WMV. Hook it up to an external monitor via HDMI and you’d get the full HD experience on a big screen.

The multi-tasking capability is very impressive. Imagine running a full browser streaming YouTube, playing Need for Speed and playing music all at the same time, in real time. Switch between windows in a snap and the rest of the apps will continue to run in the background, uninterrupted.


RIM BlackBerry Playbook
7″ capacitive display @ 1024×600 pixel
BlackBerry Tablet OS
1GHz dual-core CPU
Dual HD cameras (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing)
1080p Full HD video recording
HDMI port
WiFi 802.11n
Bluetooth 2.1

Recorded videos of the Playbook in action but have not yet finished uploading it on YouTube. Will update once that is done.

At the moment, the WiFi-only variant will be released but they promised a 3G/4G variant will follow. However, they added that you can pair the Playbook with any BlackBerry and share internet connection (called BlackBerry Bridge).

The tablet will be introduced in the Philippines soon so we’re fortunate enough to be one of the first few ones to get to play with it. Reps could not comment on the release date or the indicative price but they say it will be competitive and near the announced $499 they had in the United States.

Update: See BB Playbook in action…

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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37 Responses

  1. sossimo says:

    I saw that BB mobile roaming around Ayala. Cool

  2. deuts says:

    More choices… more choices!

  3. Bryan says:

    Hope the other BB playbook model will have BIS and 3g/4g. so we could be online 24/7. hehehe.. i really love this tablet more than the other brands. right size, right screen and resolution. ilang gig kaya capacity nito?

    • Kevin says:

      Technical Specifications
      Height 5.1 in (130 mm)
      Width 7.6 in (194 mm)
      Depth 0.4 in (10 mm)
      Weight 0.9 lbs. (400 g)
      Operating System QNX® OS
      Processor 1 GHz dual-core processor
      RAM Storage 1 GB
      Builtin Memory 16GB / 32GB / 64GB
      Rear Camera 5MP
      Flash led
      Front Camera 3MP
      Video Recording 1080p

  4. jologs says:

    Wow, this looks good. Since this supports flash, could I play FB games on it like Restaurant City? Hehehe. Yan lang naman ang hanap ko sa tablet e. Sana pwede. :)

  5. Lance says:

    i do believe that’s not how you play with a car game in a phone or a tablet.. you should do it like your holding the car wheel controller.

  6. sherwood says:

    Sir yuga, what do you prefer? Apple Ipad or Blackberry Playbook?

  7. Jon says:

    Very nice specs! Looks like a picture frame though, because of the thick black bezel.

  8. che renegado - roxas says:

    i want one !!!!!!!!!!! now i dont know wat to ask my husband 1st, a DSLR camera or a BB Playbook …

  9. This I will surely get! I like BB a lot!

  10. wreek888 says:

    Im sure this gonna be pricey. Not lets than 40k i believe but if you buy in the states, it will be around 22k

  11. nameless says:

    bb playbook is love. iPad sucks. doesnt have adobe flash player and the camera is a total ripoff.

    • cirrus says:

      do u own an apple ipad??? XD

    • john says:

      i won one, and yes it sucks..

      actually, di ko na nga sya nagagamit, since paggusto ko mag net, wala akong magawa kundi tumayo at pumunta sa laptop ko dahil di kaya ng ipad yung may mga flash sites, plus ang bagal pa kahit yung html5.. zzz

      i have a itouch kasi, parehas lang sila talaga, kaya di ko na nagagamit yung ipad..

      and now i am waiting for this one. =)

      -hd divx playback, hdmi, HD cameras, more controls (tocuh sensitive panels)… oh, full facebook experience.. as in pwede ka magchat sa full site and also play flash games… at marami pang iba!

  12. jake says:

    yes the playbook can play all facebook games that do not require keyboard control.

    • jologs says:

      I hope I can catch the BB Playbook bus so that I can try playing FB games on the tablet. I just work around the Ayala Area so sana matyempuhan ko. This looks really good. Sana madami rin ang apps na optimized for this tablet kse jan sila talo ng iPad e. So for me, still a choice between this and iPad.

  13. Nice to have device! I’m hoping it can sync your pushed emails from BB that way you can view HTML emails in all its glory as compared to viewing it from a cramped screen…

    BTW, there’s a typo in the paragraph before the obligatory specs sheet:
    “Imaging running a full browser streaming YouTube…” It’s supposed to be “Imagine” right?

  14. nothing against the Playbook but the OS interface looks like a copycat from webOS. I haven’t got hold of this but had surely used webOS a lot.

    • Erin says:

      i think i read it somewhere that a large percentage of the QNX designers also worked as webOS designer. one can only innovate the UI so much so if the design works, why change it?


  15. wapome says:

    Hi Mr yuga. Weren’t you also contacted by RIM Asia Pacific? I read from techpinas blog he met a RIM’s representative about the Blackberry Playbook

  16. luiboowee says:

    Wait! Sharing internet (3G) with BB Bridge? So you mean we can now tether using BB’s bluetooth? or still connect via USB? Sir Yuga, can you please clarify the BlackBerry Bridge part? Kasi if we can bluetooth tether na using BB handset, why bother wait for the 3G/4G model pa if someone already has a BB 3G version to pair with? Can’t wait.. I have BB Curve 3G and been using it as a modem successfully (everytime I have 3G connection though)

  17. luiboowee says:

    Is the BlackBerry Bridge same with a mobile wifi hotspot apps available in Android?

  18. Vlad says:

    i have an iphone4 and an ipad1, but would like to try the bb messaging. my question is can i get a line from lets say globe, add the 300 pesos bbm socials add on, place the sim into the bb playbook 3g, and have bbm in the playbook?

    if this is the case, im going to be selling my ipad1 and get the playbook.

    am not open kasi to replacing my iphone4 for a bb9780 or torch.

    • Carlo says:


      There’s no PB with 3g capabilities yet. You will still need your bb phone for 3g access

  19. technobaboy says:

    i think blackberry will have a hard time competing with iPad and the Android lot

  20. Edwin C says:

    I don’t like this. I want that Asus Transformer tablet.

  21. KennyV says:

    Nice marketing strategy. Mas effective yan pag traffic sa Ayala haha!

  22. Lee says:

    You CAN have flash on a tablet, if what you want is the performance equivalent of a Pentium II. It’s the EXACT same story with every crappy also-ran android tablet. Thanks, but I’ll keep the iPad, you guys can have your flash games.

    • john says:

      HAHA, im sure di mo pa natatry yung flash 10.2 on a android 2.2 device. =)

    • jologs says:

      Hay, I want my flash games in FB and I want the ipad apps! ANg hirap naman nito! Sana pwedeng pareho makuha pera sabi nga, “you can’t have it all.” Hehehe.

      I guess the question is, does the palybook ship with flash? Kse diba yung xoom, hindi? Hehehe.

      Well anyway, like what I said, it’s a choice between playbook and ipad. Ayoko talaga ng Android tablet kse feeling ko the apps will be crappy, parang sa mga Android phones lang, kaya nabenta ko ng di oras ang Desire ko. Hehehehe.

  23. kc says:

    is it true the price is 22k? sino naka bili na?

  24. Tristan says:

    Wow! Cool! More choices for us on the tablet pc-wars! Hmmm I hope I can win this one in Slashgear’s contest! :D

  25. SpunkyGlitzes says:

    Hi Sir Yuga,

    Didn’t you have problems with BB features? I heard it was BB dependent.

  26. enzo says:

    no its not bb dependent, I have playbook, and I love it, I don’t have the BB phone. I am pinoy here in mexico that is why I have the Playbook since april 26, 2011. I is really addictive, the gesture and swipe gives you joy, OS is fun to use

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