Hands On With the BlackBerry Playbook: Actually Quite Nice

Over the weekend I attended the Blackberry hackathon with the hopes of creating an Xpenser blackberry app. The RIM folks were nice enough to give away a Playbook to everyone who presented, so I ended up with one.

Blackberry Playbook

I was skeptical, to say the least. I expected a sluggish, ugly interface with a dearth of applications.

What I got is quite nice. The blackberry has a very usable interface - it’s fast and responsive, and some of the gestures (eg. closing and switching apps) are the best I’ve seen on a tablet.

It comes with a nice car racing game (I surprised myself by spending a few hours playing it), and the browser is quite excellent, probably the best I’ve seen on a tablet.

The development environment is also rich: you can use HTML or flash as well as native SDKs.

It doesn’t seem to come with a built-in email app (or if it does I’ve missed it), which is very surprising given the Blackberry pedigree.

It’s also lacking apps and games - the app world feels a bit empty.

I’m surprised at how much I like the device. I just wish it had more apps.