1. Thisco's Avatar
    Hi everybody,

    Based on the answers on a couple of my questions on this forum I went ahead and asked a Blackberry PlayBook as my Christmas present :-)

    As I hardly will be the only one opening up this shiny new tablet on Christmas Day I thought of sharing a few things I have been saving in a Google Doc for what I want to do with the tablet. I hope it is of use to someone.

    1.Check this first
    First of all, in order to make sure your unit has no problems I would suggest going through the first couple of posts in this forum thread: http://forums.crackberry.com/blackbe...t-know-671764/

    Secondly, I am planning on installing the desktop software and making a backup of the initial state of the PlayBook. I know a couple of things come pre-installed and it would be a pity to loose them while playing around with firmware etc...

    You can make a backup using the Blackberry desktop software which can be found on the following link: BlackBerry - BlackBerry Desktop Software

    A short tutorial of how to use it can be found here: How to back up and restore a BlackBerry PlayBook using BlackBerry Desktop Software for PC 6.1 «Inside BlackBerry Help Blog

    Next, I am planning on getting my hands on all the goodies I have heard of which need to be downloaded before 31st December. More specifically I am talking about:

    If you download the Box.net app you get 50GB of free storage:

    Free Box for BlackBerry PlayBook - Download Box for BlackBerry PlayBook - Free Apps from BlackBerry App World

    In this thread you can find which PlayBook apps and games are on sale: http://forums.crackberry.com/playboo...thread-680971/

    Perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea to repeat the backup process so you have all those apps safely backed up.

    4.Playing around with the OS2 beta firmware
    Next I would like to try the OS2 beta firmware, specifically to see how some Android apps run. You first need to register your device for the beta, which you can do here:
    Attention: you need to complete the registration within 24hours or you’ll have to register again.

    I found this video about setting up the Android player which seems clear and concise:

    What I have gathered on this forum about running Android apps on the PlayBook is the following:
    -Not all apps currently work
    -You need to install the apps as PlayBook BAR files

    This means that the best you can do is check a list of apps which people have already been trying out, such as the list on PlayBook BARs

    Either you download already converted apps in BAR-format OR convert it yourself from APK to BAR.

    I found the following clear guide with screenshots about the whole process of getting BAR-files on your PlayBook:
    How To: Sideload Android apps on PlayBook OS v2.0 for use with the Android App Player | CrackBerry.com

    In case you can’t find the BAR file for an app you want to use you’ll have to convert it yourself. These are the steps you need to take:

    1.Search for the APK file if you can’t find the BAR file which someone already converted. Use Google, type the name of the app and add apk.
    2.Convert the APK file to a BAR file
    3.Sign the BAR file
    4.Connect your PB and sync the BAR file over

    Some introductory videos about this process:
    RIM makes it easy for Android developers to port their apps using the BlackBerry Packager for Android | CrackBerry.com

    Download this:
    Android SDK | Android Developers

    Sign up to this:

    A tool for converting APK to BAR:

    In the unlikely event that something goes horribly wrong while playing around with the beta you can always downgrade back by following this guide:
    How to restore your BlackBerry PlayBook OS to the current version (v1.0.7) if you’ve installed the Developer Beta OS (v2.0) «Inside BlackBerry Help Blog

    5.Getting video files on the PlayBook
    If you want an overview of the video files which are supported on the PlayBook you can check the following PDF file:

    It seems as though MKV files are supported in the OS2 beta firmware, but not in the current “official” firmware.

    If you haven’t got a clue which video type and codecs your video files have you can use a tool such as Gspot to check:
    GSpot - Free software downloads and software reviews - CNET Download.com

    Using that tool you can determine whether or not your file will need to be converted first.

    Should you need to convert it I would advise using the free software Super Video Converter:
    SUPER &copy - Media File Converter, Media File Encoder, Video Player, Audio Player, Media Player

    Navigating the page and actually FINDING the downloadlink can be a bit difficult. You first need to click on a link near the bottom of the page. This takes you to another page where you need to click a link near the top. Finally, on the third page the downloadlink is near the bottom :-D

    These are the settings I have used, based on the documentation in the PDF file. As I said, I will only be able to test this when I get the tablet :-)

    My settings (when I was converting a 720P MKV file)
    Output Container: MP4
    Output Video: H.264/AVC with AAC LC
    Video scale size: NoChange
    Frame/sec: 23.976 (gives me better results than the 29.97 I had said before)
    Bitrate kbps: 576
    Options: Stretch It and 48K Audio selected

    Sampling freq: 44100
    Channels: 2
    Bitrate kbps: 192

    This resulted in a file of 804MB for a 90 minute film. If the converted files get too large you should specifically focus on reducing the Bitrate kbps of the video, i.e. put it lower than 576.

    6.Check out the App World
    I am planning on checking out what is available on this app market ( I have an ipod touch and an Android phone ). Based on first preliminary browsing I would say that both “Files and Folders” as well as “Gee Reader” seem pretty essential.

    7.Have fun!
    It’s Christmas and you just unwrapped a classy tablet with an excellent screen. Time to enjoy it :-D
    Last edited by Thisco; 12-25-11 at 06:06 AM. Reason: Added link to thread with games and apps on sale
    12-19-11 12:00 PM
  2. SuperGenius's Avatar
    "3.Free goodies
    Next, I am planning on getting my hands on all the goodies I have heard of which need to be downloaded before 31st December. More specifically I am talking about:

    3.1.A Thank You Gift From Blackberry

    These are a couple of apps and games which are free to download until the 31st December."

    Just a heads up to the above... the free thank you gift apps are for your BlackBerry, not the PlayBook.
    chrisstanley1987 likes this.
    12-19-11 12:03 PM
  3. HybridGT's Avatar
    OS 2 is awesome, even though it's a beta, it works better than Os 1 in some areas
    12-19-11 04:35 PM
  4. Chaddface's Avatar
    Now that's enthusiasm.
    12-19-11 05:05 PM
  5. blackjack93117's Avatar
    Careful - exhibit too much happiness about your playbook and your thread will be moved to rehab!!
    12-19-11 08:49 PM
  6. HybridGT's Avatar
    Careful - exhibit too much happiness about your playbook and your thread will be moved to rehab!!
    It's not that bad...
    12-19-11 08:51 PM
  7. Scrapegoat's Avatar
    Now this is an informative and well intentioned thread on the Playbook forum!! Well done!
    12-20-11 01:30 AM
  8. snowindec9's Avatar
    do you really need to upload movies when there are sites that u can watch free movies on.converting and uploading seems time consuming.
    12-20-11 02:28 AM
  9. iDoWell4's Avatar
    do you really need to upload movies when there are sites that u can watch free movies on.converting and uploading seems time consuming.
    Unless you are on a road trip with no wifi!
    12-20-11 02:43 AM
  10. Thisco's Avatar
    Well, it's Christmas Day and I have the Playbook in front of me :-)

    Am working my way through the different things in my own post.

    Will report later about how everything is going or offer advice to other new owners.

    Enjoy the festive season!
    12-25-11 06:07 AM
  11. sushistew's Avatar
    got my playbook for xmas, yay
    12-25-11 04:53 PM
  12. kb5zht's Avatar
    The device rocks, just wait until the official 2.0.

    People buying an ipad p.o.s wont know what they are missing.
    12-25-11 05:12 PM
  13. annamarialuann's Avatar
    Seems some of the free apps that are available for free download in app world before Dec. 31st are not listed or not free, am I doing anything wrong or are they no longer free?
    12-25-11 06:36 PM
  14. jtwarrin5's Avatar
    I was just given a Playbook from my family for Christmas! It's great and I love the bridge feature with my 9930!
    12-25-11 06:43 PM
  15. Hgouck's Avatar
    I do not believe the Playbook receive the benefit of the free gifts. But there are a lot of free Apps to download. Also if finances permit, go ahead and purchase a couple to support and promote the Developers.
    annamarialuann likes this.
    12-25-11 06:46 PM
  16. lsquare's Avatar
    Excellent thread OP.

    Instead of posting a link to an app thread, is there a consensus on the must have/install app for the PB?

    Does anyone here know what subtitle formats are supported in OS 2? So even in the current OS 2 beta, if it's installed, MKV files will run?

    Any recommendations for a PDF annotation app?
    12-27-11 12:38 AM
  17. FF22's Avatar
    There is a subtitle player right now but it only supports the currently supported formats. MovieSRTPlayer in appworld.
    12-27-11 01:25 AM
  18. Bisboxer's Avatar
    Excellent thread OP.

    Instead of posting a link to an app thread, is there a consensus on the must have/install app for the PB?
    A MUST HAVE for me is Files & Folders!! Make the PB very easy to navigate and organize.
    12-27-11 06:55 AM
  19. Thisco's Avatar
    As the original poster of this thread I thought of sharing my experiences of owning the PB for a couple of days.

    First of all: the battery was completely drained when I opened the package. I hooked it up to its charger and let it load for a couple of hours. It then showed a battery level of 59%. I panicked slightly but can report that after playing around with it, then letting it load again the indicator went up to >90% as it should.

    Secondly: the wifi-signal is decent, but not incredibly strong. If you're at the edges of the network you might loose a signal now and then. In general though it has been very good.

    The browser works wonderfully. The very first time Gmail didn't want to work but after clearing all cookies and cache it works as it should. I am also incrediby pleased that the browser works with Pinterest, a great tool for me to create moodboards.

    After installing Gee Reader to read my RSS feeds which are synced on Google Reader I have to say I haven't really felt the urge to fool around with the OS2 Beta firmware. That's kind of funny because I have to admit I was pretty convinced the tablet would not be so good without access to the Android apps I knew :-P

    I also installed the Files & Folders app. I am going to test it more as I seemed to run into a bug. I used the browser to save an image. I then used Files & Folders to cut and paste this image into another folder (to tidy things up as the image was floating around in the downloads folder). However, although the Pictures app on the PB showed the thumbnail of the image in the new folder, clicking it simply gave a blank, white image. Very strange! When I tried COPYING instead of cutting however the image was transferred just fine. I plan on entering my Dropbox info in order to see how that works.

    The first app I paid for was the Comics app. I had always planned on reading comics on my tablet and I must say it's really fun. The app however is really quite slow when moving to another page. I appreciate the excellent screen of the PB and when holding the device in landscape mode it is fantastic to have about half of a real comic book in front of you. BUT: flipping pages should be a lot quicker. Having used ACV (Android Comic Viewer) and the excellent Comic Zeal it is clear that the Comics-developer still has work ahead of him. For me, the double-tap the corner to flip a page doesn't always work either so the whole experience can be a bit cumbersome. One more thing: please add a bookmark function and a function in which it remembers the page you were on.

    Watching videos is great. All .avi files I have tested seem to work. Using the settings in my original post I have also created some perfectly watchable mp4-files from mkv-sources. Nevertheless, converting video files takes me back to my ipod days and I have been spoilt with the Mobo Player app for Android. I am looking forward to the official OS2 and its ability to play MKV-files.

    As for everything else:

    -Blackberry desktop software works well. Backup was easy.
    -PB immediately recognized as an external hard drive. Can't see to create new folders in the root directory though so I've put my comics under the "Books" folder.
    -Multitasking is truly impressive!

    Have fun everyone!
    12-27-11 08:16 AM