BLACK­BERRY PLAY­BOOK

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - COVER STORY -

Price: 27,000

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WHAT WE LIKED: Very solid and well con­structed, the Play­book wows with its mul­ti­task­ing and mul­ti­pro­cess­ing abil­i­ties. You can run a graph­ics in­ten­sive game run­ning along­side a video chat ses­sion, and have a Flash heavy web­site load­ing, or movie play­ing—all con­cur­rently. Few would need to run all these at the same time but it gives you a clue of the horse­power of the 1GHZ Cor­tex A9 dual core pro­ces­sor as well as the ca­pa­bil­ity of the OS. Ver­sion 2.0 of the OS —though still in beta—is a marked im­prove­ment over the pre­vi­ous ver­sion. The Play­book now has Black­berry Run­time for Android Apps and the Black­berry Plug-in for Android De­vel­op­ment Tools. This opens up a whole new uni­verse of apps for that hith­erto blighted depart­ment. OS 2.0 also sup­ports Adobe Air 3.0 and Adobe Flash 11. You can nest apps within fold­ers now. The in­ter­face by and large re­mains rem­i­nis­cent of erst­while Palm/we­bos de­vices while the menus lean to­ward the Black­berry genre. The ap­proach to UI is re­fresh­ing, min­i­mal­is­tic and co­he­sive. The screen bezel has been thought­fully de­ployed for ges­ture-based ba­sic func­tion­al­ity. In-browser Flash video play­back is be­yond re­proach. The 5MP cam­era does a good job with both video and stills and the au­dio out­put is sec­ond to none. Bat­tery life is close to 8 hours. WHAT WE DIDN’T: As of now, there is no 3G/SIM slot. You need to hook up a Play­book to your Black­berry phone over a pro­gram called Bridge via Blue­tooth. With­out Bridge there’s no mail, cal­en­dar or mes­sag­ing client. RIM has done this so as not to com­pro­mise en­ter­prise mail se­cu­rity, but this lim­its the ap­peal of the tablet. Yes, you can use it on WIFI too. How­ever, when it comes to online con­nec­tiv­ity on the trot, you’re vir­tu­ally on an is­land. The paucity of na­tive apps can be galling. While the Android em­u­la­tor is set to change that, the fi­nal ver­sion of the 2.0 OS is not due un­til Fe­bru­ary 2012. Ver­dict: The hard­ware works nim­bly with nary a blip. The in­ter­face is tight and tidy. Breadth of apps aside, the over­all app qual­ity and ex­pe­ri­ence is yet to ma­ture enough to lure you away from the com­pe­ti­tion. Un­less you’re to Black­berry en­ter­prise manor born—or a hard­core Black­berry user—you will have to give this one a re­think for the time be­ing.

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