I received my free PlayBook a couple of days ago and wanted to share my own personal views on the device and development process. Now we all know this hasn't been the smoothest of journeys for these guys - with a lot of flack from developers...
- RIM faces disgruntled Playbook developers
- You Win, RIM! (An Open Letter To RIM's Developer Relations)
- 5 Things RIM Must Do To Improve PlayBook Development
First opinions of the device are good, looks nice, feels good in the hand etc. It's only after a little bit of use where the small things become apparent. Now those that know me will know I'm a bit of an Apple fan - I've had my issues with various Apple devices but for the inconvenience the rest of the package keeps me a happy user. Initial factors to note are the lack of email client (something that will be rectified soon) and I have noticed not all sites work on the device (e.g. The FWA). Being a Flash compatible device I was expecting the PlayBook to replicate web browsing on my main machine with a few usability limitations due to the the device's size.
No Mac Sync?
My biggest gripe at the moment is the lack of consistency in connecting the PlayBook to my mac. Most of the my first day with the device was trying to copy media to the device. With the lack of mac desktop client for the PlayBook - something Blackberry say is coming in June - there is no easy way to copy files to the device. Connecting to it as a server is tiresome and not always achievable - something they have addressed as a potential issue with the Apple OS. But even without the media issues - there's currently no way to 'sync' contacts, calenders or anything for that matter if you're on a mac - not that I have even noticed an address book or calender on the PlayBook... isn't this something users come to expect these days? Well at least we'll have Angry Birds!
On the development side of things I'm still yet to test the application that qualified me for a free device - I'm currently waiting on a new key to be sent out - something they have now informed us is down to a 24hrs. Jesse Freeman also covered this topic and has compared it to similar processes for other devices. He also makes a very good point that developers were unable to test their applications till post launch. Looking around the AppWorld site - it is clear that now is a good time to jump on board as a developer - the general quality of many of the applications could be considered below par in relation to the Apple and Android equivalents.
Just For Me
Other little points I have noticed are the size of the external buttons could be a little bigger and I don't want to keep pressing the button to ramp up the volume - surely press and hold should raise the volume at a consistent rate - just a small point but something that is a little annoying.
I'm not going to give up on this device - I just feel that they could have possibly got it all a little better. There is obviously a clear race to get into the tablet market and I can see why they have released it - but in the same way you would have felt that they would have got it right to blow the others straight out of the water. I appreciate my views may be a little swayed by my familiarity with Apple devices (sure there are too many patents for others to match them). Its a very fast device and the quality of the games supplied on the device and demo videos clearly show it's potential. It will be interesting to see how the updated planned for the next couple of months come out - but this is a device I will be looking forward to developing for. Even as I write this article many new updates are surfacing from BlackBerry World 2011 .