Playbook Arrival

After all the work I went through to get my phone prepped and ready for connection it was a long next couple of days waiting for it to arrive.  I stalked the package tracking information and watched as it shipped, arrived and shipped again, then I was thrilled when it was out for delivery a full two days before I was going to “need” it for my next business trip.

I waited all that day, and no package arrived.  I was baffled, so at closing I went to check the tracking information and what did I find?  There was a note saying the delivery guy had come and found us closed for the day.  I found that surprising since there is always someone by the front door and both doors have bells in case no one is there to hear a knock.  It did happen over the lunch hour though, so I figured that as unlikely as it was, maybe it really did happen.  So, my hopes were dashed with cold water once more and I had to wait another day.


No ransom was requested from these playbook kidnappers

The next day I ate at work and watched the front door like a hawk over the lunch hour just in case it happened again.  No one came – more disappointment.  All day I watched the tracking information religiously, and when quitting time came around it still hadn’t arrived.  I quickly checked the website to see what their delivery schedules were … latest delivery time was at 6pm, it was now 4pm.  I decided to hang around for a while longer, it isn’t like I ever have a shortage of work to do.  Five o’clock came and went, and around 5:30 I checked in on the tracking again.  Once more the delivery was marked as failed because we were closed.  Impossible!

Now, when I say I “needed” the playbook for the next day, I meant I really, really wanted it – and I was going away for the weekend and would find it infinitely useful.  I will also admit to being upset that the delivery guy couldn’t be bothered to ring the doorbell to do his job.  I made a phone call to the delivery company in a semi-rational state, and looking back I feel a bit sorry for the guy who had to take my call, but he was pleasant enough and helpful and arranged for me to pick up my package at the depot in Calgary by 6:30pm.  He assured me that it would be ready for pickup at that time – it was now closer to 6pm and I had missed dinner, and to be there on time I would have to leave immediately.  So I agreed, and left to drive into the city.

I was fortunate as I got closer to the depot I pulled in behind one of the delivery trucks and followed it all they way back to the depot.  I thought perhaps the universe was smiling on me and I had caught up with the driver with my package and we would arrive at the same time.  Music plays, angels sing, rainbows part the skies.

That was not the case.  I arrived shortly after 6:30 to be informed that my driver hadn’t returned yet.  On an intellectual level I understood that there was nothing the guys at the desk could do, but that didn’t stop me from being a bit unreasonable.  In the end I agreed to wait, they told me the driver should be back at any time.

For the next hour I went in every 20 minutes to check and see if he had returned.  In between I sat and waited in my car since there was no seating in the small shipping/receiving area inside.  The depot closed at 7:30, and I made my final attempt then.  The clerk was already on the phone with the back to find out if my truck had arrived, and finally … he had.  I retrieved the packaged, apologised now that I was in better humor for my abrupt behaviour (I was told that I was one of their politest angry customers and not to worry about it) and drove back home.

At home I finally got to open the box and behold my new toy – er … my new device that would enhance my productivity!

My first impression was something along the lines of “this is awesome!”  It went a bit downhill from there.  Apparently RIM decided not to ship their devices with a charged battery.  That was disappointing.  It was even more disappointing when I couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t turn on.  I had it plugged into the computer through the USB connection which should supply power, I would turn it on, and nothing would happen.  Google is my friend in these kind of circumstances.  I discovered that the USB plug doesn’t provide enough power to actually charge the battery, and for first time uses the Playbook had to be plugged in with the wall charger.  OK, no problem – I plugged it in, and it turned on!

I saw a start up screen, and it looked like it was going to turn on, then it stopped and told me that before it could do anything it had to be connected to the network so it could download the latest software.  Great.  I got it hooked up and it started doing it’s downloading thing.  I watched it for a while, and then left it alone, it was going to take a few hours to finish.  I checked on it every now and then and was concerned to find that the battery didn’t appear to be charging, it was stuck at 3%.

Blackberry Playbook with keyboard open

While it updated I decided to run some searches to see if these had known battery problems.  I didn’t end up finding any definitive conclusions by the time the updates were done.  I did discover that the device could not charge if it was powered off.  I’m not sure exactly who came up with that idea, but they shouldn’t be in charge of decisions like that any longer.  The battery still hadn’t charged when I finished setting it up and actually got it to boot up for the first time.

It was very easy to set up, and I was immediately in the advanced settings checking on the wireless information, bluetooth settings, setting up wireless file sharing and all the fun stuff that I had gotten it for in the first place.  Connecting through the Blackberry Bridge was quick and easy.  I opened up the bridge application on both devices and ran through the manual connection, unfortunately by phone didn’t recognize the QR code for automatic setup.  The manual connection consisted of inputting strings of information from one device to the other, it took about 5 minutes tops to type everything in and since then I haven’t had to do anything to keep them talking.

I love the larger calendar and mail screens that I get on the Playbook, trying to do things from my phone just was not easy.  Don’t get me wrong, I can thumb type with the best of them, but my thumbs are pretty large so they frequently hit two keys instead of one.  I also appreciate that the playbook locks access to the bridge when the phone is out of range, so I don’t have to worry about security risks with someone walking off with my tablet and having access to all my work information.

At this point the battery still hadn’t charged, and it was getting late so I left it to charge over night and went to bed.

In the morning the battery was fully charged (yay!) and it was ready to go with me.  During the trip I managed to play with a few other features, including the text editor (which is great) and web browser (also great).  One of the bridge features is a bridge browser, so I can still surf through the phone if I’m not connected to a wireless network (I can also tether the tablet to the phone if necessary).

I’ll admit that one of the next things I did when I had a few minutes was paw through the Blackberry App Store to see what they had for free games and the like.  I was surprised to find it very sparsely populated.  I’m not sure what the cause is, whether it is exceedingly difficult to code for the Blackberry OS or if there is another problem – I keep planning to look into it further but still haven’t got around to that yet.  Maybe it’s a blessing (in a way), I’ve been considering getting into the app market, but all of my ideas have already been created (not so Blackberry!).  We’ll see what happens.

In conclusion, I’m more than happy with my Playbook.  Seeing some of the other tablets I do get a bit of “screen size envy” – but it passes when I think about the things I do with my tablet and how well it integrates with my work life (which was the whole point).  I think if I was getting a more recreational tablet and didn’t already have a Blackberry Phone that this would definitely not be my first choice – but the rest of you Blackberry users out there, don’t be discouraged … if you’re looking for something that is going to integrate with what you have now you won’t find anything better suited.

What did you think?