If you’re an AT&T BlackBerry user and you bought a PlayBook, you know that BlackBerry Bridge — the piece of software that wirelessly connects your BlackBerry to your PlayBook and facilitates PIM functions — is not available for AT&T BlackBerry devices. Sure, there are unofficial workarounds, but for RIM’s largest customer to not support this critical feature for RIM’s biggest product launch in ages seems strange (RIM views carriers as customers, sorry guys). Despite its earlier statement, many thought AT&T had ulterior motives in not supporting BlackBerry Bridge, but we have confirmed that the real reason is that RIM didn’t deliver BlackBerry Bridge to AT&T until just days before it launched in RIM’s BlackBerry App World. RIM didn’t hand over a final OS build for the BlackBerry PlayBook until days before launched either, and we saw that first hand with the last minute OS updates to our review unit. In spite of the short testing time — and interestingly enough — all other U.S. carriers have approved BlackBerry Bridge.
PlayBook owners over on the CrackBerry forums have discovered that, after applying a new BlackBerry Bridge v18.104.22.168 update, they were able to use BBM on their BlackBerry PlayBooks. The feature reportedly only works with BlackBerry 6 devices right now, although there are rumblings that a BlackBerry OS 5 version is in the works as well. You’ll also need to update your BlackBerry Messenger application to the newest version first, and that should be available from RIM’s BlackBerry Beta Zone. Unfortunately some users are reporting that the new Bridge update is causing some lag on their phones, though, so you may want to hold off until RIM issues a release build of the software. Judging from the picture above, we’re definitely digging the multi-frame layout with the BBM buddy list on the left side and conversation view on the right. More →
While we like where Research In Motion is going with its new BlackBerry Playbook, there’s little question at this point that it is a rushed product. RIM admits as much by constantly talking about future updates that will bring missing functionality to the platform, just as Microsoft has done with its Windows Phone platform. As has been beaten to death by reviewers, the PlayBook will lack core functionality at launch, such as an email client, calendar functionality and more, and it also won’t have an extensive selection of available third-party applications until it is updated to support Android apps in a future update. Bloomberg caught up with RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie on Friday and confronted him with several questions surrounding these critiques. While the uncomfortable situation wasn’t enough to make him walk out of the interview as Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis did earlier this week, Balsillie ultimately did little to convince teetering consumers to make a purchase when the PlayBook is released next week. Hit the break for a video of the interview. More →