Posts Tagged ‘Playbook’

BlackBerry reveals 4G LTE PlayBook

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

RIM has unveiled the new 4G LTE PlayBook. Available in Canada on 9 August with 32GB and a more powerful 1.5GHz dual-core CPU. Prices TBA.

The new PlayBook comes with much needed cellular connectivity.

The new PlayBook comes with much needed cellular connectivity.

The 4G LTE version of the BlackBerry PlayBook will make its debut in Canada next Thursday, with availability in other countries in the following months.

Cellular connectivity
LTE 700, 1700 MHz
HSPA+ 100, 1900, 1700, 800, 900 MHz

Given the incompatibility of 4G networks in different countries, it could be some time before a version compatible with your country becomes available.

In the meantime, the new PlayBook will at least bring much needed cellular connectivity (on 3G) for users from countries which do not have a 4G network yet (or who have incompatible networks).

Available in Canada on 9 August, 2012.

Available in Canada on 9 Aug.

Research In Motion (RIM) had announced earlier that the PlayBook will eventually run on BlackBerry 10 OS.

So the 4G LTE should be upgradeable from the current BlackBerry Tablet OS when BB10 becomes available next year.

Apart from the 4G LTE connectivity and CPU speed-up, the hardware for the new PlayBook remains the same – which is a testimony of how advanced it was to begin with when the original PlayBook was launched last year.

I tried out Cooklet on the BlackBerry PlayBook

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

The free Cooklet app was released on BlackBerry App World on Wednesday, 4 April. I downloaded the 35MB app for my wife who has tried it over the long weekend.

The free Cooklet app can be found in App World on the BlackBerry PlayBook.

The free Cooklet app can be found in App World on the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Cooklet App is part of the Cooklet culinary platform, which includes their Facebook page and website which offers recipes, cooking-related utilities.

“I find Multitimer and Converter very useful. I used to use a separate timer, either a mechanical one or my smartphone for timing, and Google for units conversion. Now I can do all that on my PlayBook” – Chef-at-large of the Tan family.Favourite recipes, Cookbooks and Shopping List can be synchronised and are available on all the elements of the platform (Cooklet.com, Cooklet.mobi, Cooklet App).

Cooklet aspires to build a community for food lovers from around the world to exchange cooking experiences and encourage others to improve their skills.

Installation was easy and fast. Go into App World on the PlayBook, do a search for Cooklet, click the Download button.

The app's home screen offers various ways of looking up recipes.

The app's home screen offers various ways of looking up recipes.

Once the app is downloaded and installed, you’re good to go.

The home screen of the app comprises four panes, offering different ways to search for recipes: based on ratings, recently added, picture thumbnails based on a them (eg Easter 2012) and Quick Pick search based on which meal you want to prepare for and how much time you have to prepare the meal.

The Converter tool is very useful when perusing the recipes.

The Converter tool is very useful when perusing the recipes.

Swiping downwards from the top edge of the PlayBook reveals the options for the app.

Amongst these are tools such as “Multitimer”, units “Converter”, and “Shopping List”.

From any recipe, you can send the ingredients to the shopping list with the click of a button.

There is a large repository of recipes available.

There is a large repository of recipes available.

There is also the traditional keyword search for recipes.

Results can be sorted by Relevancy, Rating, Difficulty, Time needed etc.

For those with a free user account with Cooklet.com, you can access saved recipes from “My Cookbooks” after logging in.

Quick Pick search makes it easy to find the right dish for any meal.

Quick Pick search makes it easy to find the right dish for any meal.

The recipe has a large collection, and the various ways of searching/browsing for recipes makes it easy to look for an appropriate dish for any occasion.

Just a word of caution though, keep the PlayBook well clear of all the flour and raw materials, as well as the oven, unless “PlayBook Cordon Bleu Au Gratin” is part of the menu.

I tried out Zinio on the BlackBerry PlayBook

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

The free Zinio app was released on BlackBerry App World on Tuesday, 20 March. I’ve tried it out for the past few days to read the two free magazines that came with the “magazine stand” app.

Zinio stocks over 5,000 titles in more than 30 languages.

Zinio stocks over 5,000 titles in more than 30 languages.

Installation was easy and fuss-free. Fire up App World on the PlayBook, search for Zinio, click the Download button.

The 1.8 MB app is downloaded and installed in a jiffy (depending on your bandwidth) and you’re set to go.

Zinio starts you off with two free magazines when you first install the app.

Zinio starts you off with two free magazines when you first install the app.

Starting up Zinio, you’re prompted to sign in if you have an existing account with Zinio (which is also available through a browser and via apps for iOS and Android tablets), or sign up for a new account.

All you need to sign up is an email and a password. Once logged in, you remain logged in on the PlayBook until you log out.

Once in, you get to the library with two free magazines for installing the app. At this point, you get the March 12 issue of Esquire and April 12 issue of Elle.

Click on the thumbnail to download the magazine. Once downloaded, you can read the magazine even when offline.

View two pages at a time in landscape mode, with navigation interface when you tap on the screen.

View two pages at a time in landscape mode, with navigation interface when you tap on the screen.

The user interface is simple and intuitive. In portrait mode, you view one page at a time. In landscape mode, you view two pages on the screen.

Pinch to zoom out and spread the fingers to zoom in.

View one page at a time when in portrait mode.

View one page at a time when in portrait mode. Shown with navigation thumbnails below and options above.

Double-tap to zoom-in quickly and single tap to display options, such as a row of scrollable thumbnail pages at the bottom for quick navigation.

Navigation was easy and smooth and the app has been stable in the few days that I’ve played with it.

Want more magazines? Hit the online shop. The categories are listed to the left, and the magazine covers in the category listed to the right.

Selecting a magazine will bring you to the details page where you can choose to purchase either a single issue or subscribe for a number of issues.

After that, it’s the typical payment transactions, with entry and verification of credit card details.

Zinio has more than 5,000 titles (magazines and newspapers) in more than 30 languages from around the world.

Publications purchased or subscribed to can be perused on any compatible device as long as the user is logged in with the account used to make the purchase, and a version of the magazine compatible for the OS is available on Zinio.

Management shakeup at RIM

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

BlackBerry maker – Research In Motion (RIM) – has named Thorsten Heins as President and CEO of the company.

Mike Lazaridis remains Vice Chair of the Board while Jim Balsillie takes on a Director role at the company. This is effective immediately.

Outgoing Co-chairs and Co-CEOs Jim Basillie and Mike Lazaridis

Outgoing Co-chairs and Co-CEOs Jim Basillie and Mike Lazaridis

Heins was also appointed to RIM’s Board. He joined RIM from Siemens Communications Group in December 2007 as Senior Vice President for Hardware Engineering and became Chief Operating Officer for Product and Sales in August 2011.

I believe Heins does not have time on his side, given BlackBerry’s rapid loss of market share to rival Android devices and Apple iOS products.

“We have a strong balance sheet with approximately $1.5 billion in cash at the end of the last quarter and negligible debt. We reported revenue of $5.2 billion in our last quarter, up 24% from the prior quarter, and a 35% year-to-year increase in the BlackBerry subscriber base, which is now over 75 million.” – Thorsten Heins, new President and CEO of RIM.RIM’s market share of smartphones in the US declined from a market leading 44% in 2009 to 10% in 2011, according to market researcher NPD Group.

BlackBerry has been growing outside of America but it is facing similar challenges from its competitors in those markets as well.

Coming from within RIM instead of outside, the natural question will be whether Heins will be doling out “more of the same” at RIM.

I’m not sure having been in RIM since 2007 is necessarily something that will be seen as positive for Heins.

Investors will be keen to know if he had his own ideas but could not act on them because he was not the CEO.

Heins will have a very short time to show how different he is from his predecessors, that he has his own vision and roadmap to bring RIM back to its previous success.

Thorsten Heins, new President and CEO at RIM

Thorsten Heins, new President and CEO at RIM

I’m hoping his “I don’t think that there is a drastic change needed” spiel during his first press conference as CEO is merely paying due respect to his predecessors.

The succession plan was submitted by the two Co-Chairs and co-CEOs, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. RIM’s Board of Directors acted on their recommendations after conducting its own own due diligence.

Investors had forced RIM to consider a change in company leadership in 2011 and was stalled with the company’s promise to study the matter.

RIM promised a resolution in January 2012 and I’ve been wondering if they were going to make the move, after their closed-door meeting in mid December.

Mike Lazaridis, who co-founded RIM with Doug Fregin in 1984, has become Vice Chair of RIM’s Board and Chair of the Board’s new Innovation Committee.

As Vice Chair, he will work closely with Mr. Heins to offer strategic counsel, provide a smooth transition and continue to promote the BlackBerry brand worldwide.

Barbara Stymiest, who formerly served as a member of Royal Bank of Canada’s Group Executive and has been a member of RIM’s Board since 2007, has been named the independent Board Chair.

John Richardson, formerly Lead Director, will remain on the Board.

Prem Watsa, Chief Executive Officer of Fairfax Financial Holdings, also was named to the Board, expanding it to 11 members.

BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 upgrade in Feb 2012

Monday, January 16th, 2012

An advanced messaging experience; innovative people-centric calendar and contact apps; and improved office productivity tools are some of the features in the PlayBook OS 2.0 upgrade.

An advanced messaging experience with a powerful unified inbox.

An advanced messaging experience with a powerful unified inbox.

Announced during CES 2012, and expected to be available in February 2012, the free upgrade will enable customers to be even more connected and productive with heaps of new features.

People-centric calendar and contact apps integrated with social networks.

People-centric calendar and contact apps integrated with social networks.

For an advanced messaging experience, a powerful unified inbox integrates with built-in messaging and social networking sites (Twitter, LinkedIn etc), as well as ‘tabbed email’ for managing multiple accounts.

You can also compose and edit messages in rich text and manage you inbox with useful new tools (for setting out-of-office alerts, signatures etc).

There are innovative people-centric calendar and contact apps that connects and feeds from your social network to make organising your day and getting in touch with people easy and fast.

Enhnaced office productivity tools such as Word To Go & Print To Go.

Enhnaced office productivity tools such as Word To Go & Print To Go.

Remote control your PlayBook using your BlackBerry smartphone, especially if your PlayBook is connected to a TV via the HDMI output – perfect for watching movies or typing out notes.

Revamped and improved productivity tools with new Documents To Go, and Print To Go application for wireless printing and enhanced browsing, plus much more.

Play Angry Birds on BlackBerry PlayBook

Monday, December 26th, 2011

It’s Boxing Day and a day of recovery from the Christmas celebrations. Check out the Angry Birds game apps from Rovio Entertainment for the PlayBook in BlackBerry App World, now available for US$4.99 each.

PlayBook owners registered in Singapore can buy the apps at S$4.99 each.

Play Angry Birds from Rovio Entertainment on the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Play Angry Birds from Rovio Entertainment on the BlackBerry PlayBook.

The popular game/series from Rovio – Angry Birds, Angry Birds Rio and Angry Birds Seasons are now available on the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Angry Birds

Angry Birds on BlackBerry PlayBook

Angry Birds on BlackBerry PlayBook

The survival of the Angry Birds is at stake. Dish out revenge on the green pigs who stole the Birds’ eggs. Use the unique destructive powers of the Angry Birds to lay waste to the pigs’ fortified castles. Angry Birds features hours of gameplay, challenging physics-based castle demolition, and lots of replay value. Each of the 288 levels requires logic, skill, and brute force to crush the enemy.

Angry Birds Rio

Angry Birds Rio on BlackBerry PlayBook

Angry Birds Rio on BlackBerry PlayBook

What happens when everybody’s favourite fierce fowl get caged and shipped to Rio? They get very angry! In Angry Birds Rio, the original Angry Birds are kidnapped and taken to the magical city of Rio de Janeiro, where they eventually escape their captors and set out to to save their friends, Blu and Jewel – two rare macaws and the stars of the hit motion picture, Rio. Angry Birds Rio will pair the physics-based gameplay of the original game with unique twists based on the film.

Angry Birds Seasons

Angry Birds Seasons Rio on BlackBerry PlayBook

Angry Birds Seasons Rio on BlackBerry PlayBook

It was a dark and stormy night … but that won’t stop the Angry Birds! Pursue the pigs through 30 levels filled with pumpkin patches, exploding jack-o-lanterns, and creepy skeletons, lit by a full moon and eerie lantern light. You’ll get some unexpected help from a BRAND NEW BIRD – he starts out small, but don’t let his looks fool you! Complete all the levels to find some special tricks and treats!

BlackBerry DevCon Asia: Day 1

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

The conference kicked off with a general session to update developers on the latest developments around the BlackBerry platforms, followed by multi-tracked technical, practical and insight sessions that zero into the details.

BlackBerry DevCon Asia in Singapore Suntec from 7-8 December, 2011.

BlackBerry DevCon Asia in Singapore Suntec from 7-8 December, 2011.

The break-out sessions were helmed by specialists from Research In Motion (RIM) and its partners and delved into wide ranging topics from technical issues to commercial and monetizing approaches.

Gregory Wade, Regional Managing Director, East Asia, RIM

Gregory Wade, Regional Managing Director, East Asia, RIM

Delivering the keynote address was Gregory Wade, Regional Managing Director, East Asia, RIM.

He revealed there were more than 1,000 registrants for the DevCon Asia event in Singapore.

Wade quoted a GfK report that for the first half of 2011, BlackBerry was the number one smartphone in multiple countries in Asia, including Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

He said that more than 3 million BlackBerry fans were engaged on social media channels in Asia.

Alec Saunders then updated developers of BlackBerry Jam – RIM’s initiative to provide a one-stop-shop for all BlackBerry developers to assess a wide array of developer resources.

Alec Saunders, VP, Developer Relations & Ecosystems Development, RIM

Alec Saunders, VP, Developer Relations & Ecosystems Development, RIM

Saunders is the VP, Developer Relations & Ecosystems Development at RIM.

The initiative was announced at the BlackBerry DevCon Americas in October. Since then, a BlackBerry Jam communities have sprung up all over the world linking experts, partners and developers for all to be more successful on the BlackBerry platform.

George Staikos then delved into the new BlackBerry platform – previously named BBX but now renamed to BB10. Staikos is the VP, Web Technologies at RIM.

BlackBerry Jam Communities around the world

BlackBerry Jam Communities around the world

He also described the two choices of runtime environments available for developers. The Native runtime environment was for “spectacular” performance whereas HTML5 will enable the dream of “write once deploy everywhere”.

RIM will return DevCon Asia to Thailand in the future.

RIM will return DevCon Asia to Thailand in the future.

Whilst the native environment will serve as the bridge between POSIX based systems and BlackBerry 10 and allow rapid porting of native applications, HTML5 is the mass application platform for the future.

The cross-platform, cross-device HTML5 can serve as the bridge between BlackBerry 6, BlackBerry 7 and BlackBerry 10 and is the obvious choice for modern application development.

BlackBerry is therefore fully committed to HTML5.

Get spooked with fun Halloween apps on BlackBerry devices

Monday, October 31st, 2011

It’s Halloween today. Here’s a selection of ghouly apps for the occasion.

There are apps for both BlackBerry smartphones and the PlayBook. All the apps can be downloaded from BlackBerry App World. Click on the screenshots to get to the app on BlackBerry App World.

Apps Brief Description
Count Munchula (Free)
smartphones only

Count Munchula (Free)

The world-famous Screen Muncher just couldn’t resist getting dressed up for Halloween as a blood-sucking vampire named Count Munchula! “Munch” your BlackBerry screen and capture it as an image to post directly to Twitter, share through email, or save for later!

Screen Muncher lets you capture anything you see on your BlackBerry screen just like a desktop “print screen” on a PC. This funny, cute and useful app includes a very special “Count Munchula” sound effect, animation and vibrates every time you Munch a screen!

Pumpkin Slider (US$0.99)
smartphones only

Pumpkin Slider (US$0.99)

Pumpkin Slider is designed to lock your BlackBerry and prevent any unwanted key press. Even if your BlackBerry is unlocked by accident, Pumpkin Slider still locks your phone and you do not need to worry about the Send key or any unwanted key pressed. Pumpkin Slider automatically locks your BlackBerry when the screen dims.

Pumpkin Slider is fast to setup, easy to use and works with the Lock button on your BlackBerry.

Jack-O-Lantern (Free)
smartphones only

Jack-O-Lantern (Free)

Ever wanted your own Jack-O-Lantern but didn’t know how to carve one? This app is a virtual Jack-O-Lantern for your BlackBerry to help you celebrate the Halloween season. You can change the Jack-O-Lantern’s face by swiping from the left or right on the eyes, nose, or mouth. You can also change the colour by clicking on the screen. Happy Halloween!
Halloween Photo Editor (US$1.99)
smartphones only

Halloween Photo Editor (US$1.99)

Halloween Photo Editor is a powerful image processing app that turns your photos into unique Halloween themed art. Very intuitive and easy to use. even beginners will quickly learn how to create impressive Halloweenish effects! Gear up for your Halloween celebration with this amazing photo app!

The app features 4 awesome Halloween filters, 16 unique Halloween themed photo frames and 11 cute clip art images.

Ghosty Party (US$1.99)
smartphone/PlayBook

Ghosty Party (US$1.99)

Vaporize as many ghosts of the same color as you can to get a high score, with cute halloween theme animations, bonuses, and sound effects. The more ghosts you tap at once, the more scores you will get. The more same color ghosts combo, the more scoresmultiply.

The game features an autosave function on exit or phone call, and the PlayBook version also has global online support to post your scores on Facebook.

Halloween Haunt (S$1.99)
PlayBook only

Halloween Haunt (S$1.99)

Zombies, Ghosts, Mummies; oh my! Halloween Haunt is a 5 Reel Slot Machine that features up to 15 credits per line (up to 9 lines) – Changeable credit values ranging from 1¢, 2¢, 5¢, 10¢, and 25¢. Once the ‘High Roller Gauge’ is completely filled, you will gain access to even higher credit values; 50¢, $1, and $5. Slot machine symbols include ‘WILD’ and ‘SPIN & WIN’ symbols, which trigger the FREE SPIN feature. Earn your way to 50 trophies, purchase the 10 items in the gift shop, and work your way up to piles of cash like candy on Halloween!
Halloween Sounds (US$0.99)
PlayBook only

Halloween Sounds (US$0.99)

Wanna scare theguy in the next cube out of his wits? Look no further! With Halloween Sounds you can play endless pranks on friends and enemies alike. 15 spooky sounds and Spooky Soundtrack which plays a creepy soundtrack and adds scary sounds on top of it. The perfect soundtrack for handing out treats, or great mood music for a costume party.

RIM unveils BlackBerry BBX

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

At BlackBerry DevCon Americas 2011, RIM unveiled BlackBerry BBX – the next generation mobile platform that takes the best of the BlackBerry platform for its smartphones and the best of the QNX platform that it uses for its PlayBook tablets.

“With nearly 5 million BlackBerry apps downloaded daily, our customers have made BlackBerry one of the most profitable platforms for developers,” said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at RIM.The BBX platform will include BBX-OS, and will support BlackBerry cloud services and development environments for both HTML5 and native developers.

BBX will also support applications developed using any of the tools available today for the BlackBerry PlayBook – including Native SDK, Adobe AIR/Flash and WebWorks/HTML5, as well as the BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps – on future BBX-based tablets and smartphones.

Research In Motion (RIM) believes the new BBX will connect people, devices, content and services.

New Facebook app for BlackBerry PlayBook

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Version 2 of the Facebook for BlackBerry Playbook app is now available in the BlackBerry App World storefront. The free app, produced by Research In Motion, include new features such as Facebook Places, viewing of Facebook Events, the ability to view “Likes”, and privacy control on status updates.

Facebook Places lets you share where you are, what you’re doing, and the people you’re withFacebook Places lets you share where you are, what you’re doing, and the people you’re with. If you grant permission, Facebook Places uses location-based technology on your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to inform you about nearby Places.

Places works hand in glove with Bing MapsWhenever you check in to a Place, you can tag a friend and post a comment. If your friends have also activated this feature, you can see where they’re are checking into. For nearby places, you can check out the Place’s page to see the people you know who has been there and the comments that they’ve posted.

Facebook Places is also integrated with Bing Maps so that you can view the location of a Facebook Place on a map and get directions by clicking on the map image.

Facebook Events helps you to stay on top of your social plans.Facebook Events allows you to view upcoming events and birthdays, and receive notifications of new invitations that have been generated through Facebook. You can view event details like time, place, guest list and RSVP or write on the event Wall, if those features have been enabled by the event organizer.

With the Facebook app, you can now see the names of friends that liked your post and tap those names to launch their profiles.

Control who can see each update you post to FacebookThe app allows you to specify that people who can see each update you share. Simply click the lock icon in the lower-right corner of the status publisher to select who you want to make the status update visible to before posting it.