Questions Answered About BBX, PlayBook 4G and Native PIM Applications


Not too long ago we posted some screenshots of the native PIM applications on PlayBook and there was an incredible response. Many people wanted to know more about these apps and the infrastructure behind it. We’ve compiled a list of questions and answers that should shed some more light on these PIM apps, how they integrate with RIM’s infrastructure as well as some upcoming features of PlayBook OS 2.0. There’s also some interesting notes on the PlayBook 4G release and more. Needless to say, we’re very excited for this to finally launch.

Native email

Here is a transcript of some of the questions from the event where we learned about the PIM apps on PlayBook.

Q: If the BES server sits behind the firewall, and you’re concerned about security, are the two email accounts (the personal and the corporate) still separate? In the sense that if I want to send myself a note to my personal account it still goes through the Exchange Server outside the firewall, right?

A: Yeah, so the question was about security within the multiple emails. With this setup, if I send a message from my corporate account to my personal, is it still going back behind the firewall? Absolutely. The infrastructure is the exact same and we’re not doing anything to compromise security. When we get into the BlackBerry Balance portion of the presentation, we’ll talk about resonant data on the device how that is segmented off and protected. Even locally on the device you can’t copy and paste things from one perimeter into another. In that sense, yes, it would go back through the infrastructure, to your Exchange Server, and then follow the guidelines that you have set within your organization.

Q: What do you do about S/MIME?

A: S/MIME on the first iteration of the 2.0 software will not be available initially but will available shortly after.

Q: Will PlayBook 2.0 have the ability to color code the messages?

A: So the question is about setting a border color to denote whether it’s corporate or personal. I have not seen that on the PlayBook but granted I’m not on the final build. We’ll have to get back to that.

Q: Can you edit and spell check on the native email app?

A: Yes, absolutely. The logic we have on the BlackBerry in terms of type ahead and word prediction is all in the 2.0 code. You will have the spell check capabilities.

Q: How fast do the native PIM apps sync with your BlackBerry? Is there a delay?

A: It’s all relatively the same time. I haven’t noticed any delay on messages getting delivered to the PlayBook versus my BlackBerry. Most of the time it’s device, then shortly after PlayBook.

Followup Q: And it’s all the same Push infrastructure?

A: Yes. The infrastructure is essentially the same. The way it works on your BlackBerry is essentially the same as it works on your PlayBook. So the same secure, push channel that you’re accustomed to on your BlackBerry.

Q: Any difference in the ressource requirements on the server side?

A: We’re actually doing those tests now. One of the things that we’re improving is that today on BES you have a 2,000 user limit, with the new infrastructure we’re actually increasing that to several thousand more. We’re reducing the size of your infrastructure including unnecessary load and resources. While I don’t have final numbers on load balancing, the numbers that are coming in are next to nothing. So the normal 1 to 1 correlation to what you have.

Q: What about PIN messaging? As in PIN-to-PIN messaging. We didn’t see that.

A: Yes, and I won’t show you. I don’t believe PIN-to-PIN messaging is in the first iteration but I’ll have to check.

Q: What about Bridge?

A: In version 2.0 there are improvements to the speed of Bridge. There’s not many UI changes, just mostly improvement and small functionality. We’re not abandoning Bridge. While the 2.0 will have performance improvements there will be some updates down the road.

Q: Version 2.0 won’t have cellular connectivity?

A: So 2.0 is just software. The cellular devices or the “4G PlayBooks” will be available roughly around the 2.0 software release. The 2.0 software is designed to run on your current, WiFi only PlayBooks, but we will have 4G PlayBooks around the same time as that 2.0 software.

Q: In many government organizations we don’t have WiFi access. Everything is land based. So I rely on the Bridge for my functionality and we love the video chat but the problem is we can’t use it. Is there a way for us to get access to more of those apps through Bridge?

A: We’ve seen that already. The last update to Bridge allows some applications to use the connection to get out to the Internet. We’re going to of course increase the functionality of core apps to utilize Bridge.

Q: Is the PlayBook 4G being delayed?

A: We have been in testing for several months on 4G devices and on multiple carriers. Several groups are actively testing them and I have not heard of any delays. As of today (November 22nd), I have not heard anything that would put us off schedule from our early 2012 release.

Q: Will the PlayBook come in other sizes?

A: Of course we’re obviously investigating sizes and what makes sense for a larger screen. So yes, I don’t know the exact size and I can’t show you anything, but we’re looking at other sizes.

Q: Does the 4G capability imply voice functionality?

A: Not at first, besides the video chat. There is no ability to make a call from PlayBook to landline call. That’s not the final answer though. Initial release will be strictly data and video chat. There are also third party apps that will let you make a call from PlayBook to landline but not from RIM.

Q: Current video chat - can it be extended from PlayBook to something else?

A: We have teams that are working right now to make it an endpoint to a corporate video chat solution. So we’re in discussions about how that’s going to work. There’s definitely a roadmap for video chat that lets it do more than just device to device.

Q: What about segregating the Address Book by corporate and personal?

A: From a group perspective? The contacts are in one general list and there’s no way to see if they’re a personal or business contact. The device will know based on the service it’s pulling from. Any new contact will be corporate by default (I believe).

Q: What about synchronizing multiple Address Books into one?

A: I have not tried it so I can’t give you a definite answer just yet. I imagine it would still just dump it as one Address Book but I’d have to verify.

Be sure to read our post with screenshots of the upcoming PlayBook PIM apps.

  • Playbookuser

    Will 2.0 have skype?

  • Kingbernie06511

    -is 4G here 4G or 4G LTE?
    -I roamed w/ my Bold on Wifi only, no carrier at all. It took about a minute for BIS to connect (white wifi icon) but getting the new emails from my mailbox took up to 15 minutes, standing by the router. With 2.0, will there be any significant lag between BIS connection and downloading of email messages?
    -Once connected on wifi router, how long for BIS connection?

    thanks a lot!

  • Bmmcpeek

    This is great stuff, I hope video chat will work with the bridge that would be awesome!

  • Pwgillam77

    great information here! Blackberry Cool has become one of my goto blogs for bb info.

  • Mikey

    I love blackberry… thank you!

  • Nabil Bazzari

    So playbook 2 is just a software and not a new playbook devise? Can we download to the current playbook and when? For the native email, calendar , contacts this will work with wifi only (or also bridge) to sync and work with bes on exchange server?

    For playbook 4 this will be same as current playbook with only difference is having a sim card in it to connect to the web etc? What if I am in country with no 4g connection?

  • Eric Goddard

    Will we be able to send links via email?  Also, will there be an option for spell check before sending emails?  Thanks.  Eric

  • Eric Goddard

    Will we be able to send links via email?  Also, will there be an option for spell check before sending emails?  Thanks.  Eric

  • lcd replacement

    The last update to Bridge allows some applications to use the connection
    to get out to the Internet. We’re going to of course increase the
    functionality of core apps to utilize Bridge.