1. Qaxl's Avatar
    Next Generation Playbook – The Future of Mobile Computing

    To bring a Next Generation Display, Next Generation Computing Power, Next Generation Hardware and a Blackberry Software Optimised for a truly Next Generation Tablet, BlackBerry must not try to launch or announce a tablet in 2013 or the first half of 2014, they should try to line-up their launch for Holiday Season of 2014. And if it is really going to be a tablet that can play with the big boys of 2015, it should at least cover all the bases from 2012.

    The Next Generation Playbook has a lot to prove. It has to find its identity in a growing sea of very capable tablets. It has to overcome memories of an unceremonious past. It has to bring everything to the table and has to deliver on all accounts. The Next Generation Playbook is not only a refresh of the previous model, it is much more than that. It is the device that will showcase the power of BlackBerry’s new platform. It has to show the world The Future of Mobile Computing.
    There can be no lapses at any point from its conception to its launch. There can be no repeat of past mistakes. There can only be perfection. Perfection in Form, Perfection in Function, Perfection in Performance, Perfection in the way it makes its way to the Market.

    No matter what anyone says or does, such perfection cannot be attained if the Tablet is launched anytime in this year. It would take great amounts of hard work and dedication even then it would take at least 15-18 months to come to market and that would line up the launch perfectly with the Holiday Season 2014.

    Following is my opinion on what a Next Generation BlackBerry Playbook has to offer.

    Screen Resolution: 4k Ultra High Definition 3840 x 2160

    BlackBerry 10 is currently limited to a screen resolution of 1280 x 720 (except the z10). This would be considered a good resolution for a 4.2” screen size, but these days, 5” screens are cropping up with 1080p displays. Even if BlackBerry were to announce a Next Gen Playbook today and it launched in 4-6 months, it would be suicide to have a 7-11”screen with a 1280x720 resolution. It would also be a bad move to bump up the resolution to 1080p or beyond since currently all apps and games are optimized for the 720p screen, and it would be too soon to introduce a new screen resolution and would cause fragmentation in the ecosystem.

    Therefore it would be wise to let BlackBerry 10 maintain its 1280x720 resolution for this year and some part of the next, and the New Playbook can be a part of the first wave of devices when BlackBerry inevitably bumps up the resolution for next gen devices.

    This is where the Screen Resolution game is right now, and it’s still early 2013.

    Apple iPad 4 – 2048 x 1536 @ 264 ppi
    Google Nexus 10 – 2560 x 1600 @ 300 ppi
    HTC Butterfly, Sony Xperia Z, Samsung Galaxy S4 – 1080 x 1920 @ 441 ppi

    I would recommend that the Next Gen Playbook should have a 2014-2015 worthy resolution of 3840 x 2160 it is called 4k UHD and it is also a simple multiple of the current BlackBerry 10 resolution (1280x720 expected for upcoming bb10 devices), so scaling of old apps should be relatively simple.

    Next Gen Playbook 10” – 3840 x 2160 @ 440 ppi
    Next Gen Playbook 8.9” – 3840 x 2160 @ 495 ppi
    Next Gen Playbook 7.7” – 3840 x 2160 @ 572 ppi

    It is not something for me to decide whether or not a 4k resolution is “needed” on a tablet device, I am happy even with the 1024 x 600 resolution screen on my current Playbook, but it would suffice to say that the direction in which the current mobile market is headed, 4k would be an acceptable resolution 15 or 18 months down the line.

    Next Generation Processing Power

    It would take some serious power to push out a 4k resolution image at 60 fps. So I would not want the Next Gen Playbook to be launched on the current and upcoming Chips of 2013 including Snapdragon 600 / 800, and Tegra 4. Surely in the next 18 months there will be better chips available. They could be faster, or more energy efficient, or both. There may even be a shift from 4-core to 6-core or even 8-core designs. The Next Gen Playbook could try be the first on the market with one of those.

    BlackBerry 10 OS itself needs to go a long way before offering a Next Gen Playbook

    OS maturity
    BlackBerry 10 is still in its infancy, and I believe it would be better to let the OS mature a little before offering a Next Gen Playbook. There are still some things that need attention from the ability of the entire OS to run in Landscape Mode, to the inclusion of Custom Notification Profiles. The User Interface needs not just to be adjusted but Perfected for Tablet. Maybe we will see it Next Gen Ready by 10.5 or we may even have to wait for OS 11. The Idea is not to repeat mistakes from the Original Playbook Launch, and offer a Full Featured Market Topping Experience.

    Landscape Orientation as the Default Mode
    One of the strengths of the Original Playbook is that it was designed from the ground up to be used in landscape mode. On top of that it could do everything perfectly well even when in portrait mode. The current iteration of BlackBerry 10 software seems to be designed from the ground up for one handed use in a portrait orientation, and seems to run out of ideas in landscape orientation. The Next Gen Playbook must be also be designed from the ground up to be used in Landscape mode, and the BlackBerry Software User Interface must be re imagined to flow perfectly in landscape mode while keeping its portrait prowess at least as good as the z10.

    Active Frames and Widgets
    Active Frames are still a relatively new concept and lack any interaction or features except open and close. I see a great potential in Active Frames if they continue to progress, they can evolve into really powerful tools. There needs to be work done to allow a user to Place/Sort/Pin/Resize Active Frames, and also the active frame needs to evolve and get more capabilities, it should go from being just an Active Frame into an InterActive Frame.
    Another approach could be to keep the Active Frames as it is or add just minimal extra functionality, and Introduce BlackBerry Widgets (call them miniapps or whatever you like). They could populate a Homescreen next to the Active Frames and similar to that, this New Homescreen could also offer Vertical Scrolling. The Widgets could Be Resizable, and offer different levels of functionality for different sizes. The Smallest could work like a simple Live Tile or a Toggle Switch and as the size increases we could have Widgets that span the entire Width or Height of the screen (or the entire screen) and offer complex interactions that can rival an entire app.

    One of the biggest exclusions from BlackBerry 10 is customisation. The ability to customise is a very large reason for the success that android has enjoyed over the years. BlackBerry should have taken a page from that and allowed for Themes and Live Wallpapers at the very least. Themes are only needed to govern the background images and the look of icons, but we must also have the ability to bring about widespread change in the way the OS is presented to a user using Launchers.

    User Accounts
    In my experience phones are very personal devices that the user likes to keep to his/herself at all times, whereas tablets are not so personal and may easily be handed from person to person in the household especially to kids. This means that tablets need different kind of User Accounts. With applications like Facebook, and Twitter logged in, and the user signed in to a plethora of email accounts and various third party services it is just not feasible to pass devices from person to person. There should be different profiles set to different people and there should be a guest mode, and a special mode for Kids. I am sure this would not be too difficult seeing that Blackberry has already managed to pull off BlackBerry Balance, think of User Accounts as BlackBerry Balance for the Family.
    One Possible way of achieving this seamlessly would be to have user account sign in on the lock screen. So if a person is using the Tablet and decides to pass it on to someone else, they just have to hit the On/Off switch once to lock the tablet, then next user would select their own login from the Lock screen, Previous User’s session would be saved, and The New User would be logged on into their own account.

    Applications can make or break a platform. I think that BlackBerry needs to put considerably more resources into getting more apps
    The Developer Relations Team still has a lot of work to do. The app gap is still large and they need to get more native applications built for the platform. They need to somehow get Google on board with all their mobile apps, and they need to convince the android developers who ported over their apps to create native ones in the future.
    There needs to be support for developers to build more types of apps, Developers should be given access to things like BlackBerry Bridge and the Wifi Module, also there should be greater opportunity for developers to build apps that run in the background and do not need an active frame to function.
    If the Developers don’t have access to BlackBerry Bridge due to some security concerns, then only open it up to large trusted developers like Facebook, Evernote, Whatsapp, Twitter etc. In any Case BlackBerry Bridge is a Unique and Brilliant offering by Blackberry, and it should be built upon by both Blackberry themselves, and the Developers.
    It can’t be said enough, and I will say it again Apps will make or break any platform. Even after all the work that the Dev Relations team has done, there is still ten times more work to be done. The Dev Relations Team should be injected with more capital and should have access to more resources. Make a List of the Top Most wanted apps like Netflix and Google Maps who claim they cannot spare resources for a tiny platform should be given offers they cannot refuse. Sign partnership deals with them, bundle their apps with every phone, offer them compensation of their development costs even if they go into millions of dollars. What is a couple hundred million dollars if you can get the whole world to see your brand in the same light as Android or iOS.

    Android Runtime Updates and compatibility
    Android support needs to be much improved there is talk of a Jelly bean runtime, but by the time the Next Gent Playbook is launched, Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie will be a year old. So they need to speed up their process of coming up with a new runtime, and must offer greater stability, wider range of possible features and compatibility for a wider range of apps. Maybe even allow one to run Android Widgets.

    BlackBerry Apps
    All of Blackberry’s own Apps need to be featured on the Next Generation Playbook. Apps including BlackBerry Messenger, BlackBerry Protect, and BlackBerry Maps/Traffic cannot be missing from a Blackberry product.
    They also need to improve some of their own apps, BlackBerry Bridge on BB10 is for the moment extremely crippled and just a shadow of its former great self when it could have been much more, and BlackBerry Link needs a load of new features like selective backups, and needs to Iron out some features such as contacts transfer.

    Support for Various Standards
    There needs to be support for various standards such as DLNA, Miracast, MHL, and Wifi Direct etc.

    Improved Multitasking
    Blackberry 10 has some really good Multitasking credentials with their implementation of an Active Frames homescreen, but in the tablet form factor they need to go one up, and allow the user to use multiple apps side-by-side, something similar to multitasking for Windows RT.

    Next Generation Playbook Needs Next Generation Hardware Extras

    Wacom Digitizer
    Wacom Digitizer Support is an essential tool for enhancing productivity, and should be given great importance and top most priority in the list of features the Next Gen Playbook must have, the Galaxy Note and Microsoft Surface Pro Tablets both leverage the Wacom tech to claim increased productivity, and therefore I think it is important for BlackBerry to have this feature in their future products.

    Fingerprint Scanner
    Fingerprint Scanner would assure safety and security on a hardware level, ideal for Enterprise deployment, while also providing a single swipe security solution for consumers. This would also allow for seamless switching between User Accounts.

    Wireless Charging
    Wireless Charging with Qi (chee) standard needs to be implemented across all BlackBerry devices. I was expecting this to be present in the Z10 but sadly BlackBerry missed the opportunity to implement Qi standard Wireless Charging on all devices. I guess it’s never too late to mend. There will always be opportunities to implement useful features such as this … maybe with the next big hardware refresh.

    The standard Micro USB port should be accompanied by a Full size USB 3.0 port with USB OTG capabilities. This should greatly increase the compatibility of the device with many peripherals such as USB Flash Drives, External Hard Drives, External Optical Drives, Webcams and Input devices such as Keyboards, Mice, and even Game Controllers. This could also allow the user to connect their smartphone to their tablet for emergency charging.

    Expandable Storage
    The Current Playbook does not offer any expandable storage instead it just offers 3 different configurations of 16, 32, and 64 GB built in memory. This is clearly just a marketing strategy and has nothing to do with additional cost of adding removable storage. Maybe the Next Gen Playbook could offer a standard 32 GB built in memory, and then offer not one but two slots for micro SD cards. This would allow for a very large storage capacity, and the option to have one card present and swap the other card, would enable many new use case scenarios.
    Expandable Storage would also allow Blackberry to differentiate their Tablet Offerings not on the basis of Internal Storage Capacity, but rather in terms of Screen Size and Capabilities. This would allow them to target different audiences with different devices.

    Add Vibration to the tablet. The current Playbook does not offer this simple feature, but it should be there in the Next Gen Playbook. This would be helpful for notifications, haptic feedback for typing, and for feedback in games.

    Vastly Improved Camera
    The cameras in the Playbook are Dismal at best (or at least in the unit that I received). They are so bad that I never use them for anything at all. If you want to ruin a moment snap a picture with your Playbook Camera. I am sure my 2 MP camera on the Pearl 8120 could take better pictures than the 5 MP rear camera on the Playbook. The low Light performance is Abysmal and the software is pretty basic. The Camera on Z10 is better but it still lags behind in low light situations, and does not offer features that many competing phones have been offering from a long time now.
    It is alarming when a basic feature such as Autofocus is missing from the Playbook and many OS7 devices.
    The Next Generation Playbook, must at least have the capabilities of cameras offered in the current generation of mobile devices. Features like HDR for pictures as well as videos, and Panorama Modes are pretty standard across flagship devices. Also it would be good to have the ability to take pictures while making a video like HTC.
    But all these features would be pretty useless if the image quality isn’t up to par. So the primary focus should be on getting impeccable Image Quality first, and then add features that everyone else already has from long time ago.
    The front camera should have a greater low light performance for video as it will be mainly used for video and the light isn’t always optimal in the angles this is normally used.
    Some people argue that rear cameras are unimportant in Tablet devices, while it may be true in some cases, but you cannot offer a tablet in 2014 which has no rear camera unless you plan to sell it for $99, so why not put in a camera, and camera app that someone would actually want to use.

    Front Facing Stereo Speakers
    One of the great strengths of the current Playbook are its Front Facing Stereo Speakers. These should be carried forward to the next model, and if at all possible be made even better. They create a great soundstage and the sound is Crisp and Loud enough to put many Laptops to shame.

    Infra-Red Transmitter and Receiver
    Although considered a very old and outdated technology, it is still extremely useful when used for remote control capabilities.

    A Battery That Actually Lasts
    A BlackBerry device must have an exceptional battery life, a lot of that comes from software optimisations, but in tablet devices with really large screens and relatively faster internals, nothing beats having a really large battery to start with. I think most people would gladly have a slightly thicker device if it means the battery will last for a full day and then some.

    Accessories for the Next Generation Playbook

    • A Full Desktop Experience Dock
    • Smart Covers with Integrated Keyboard like MS Surface
    • Laptop Dock with Extra Battery and Additional Storage and Ports like Asus Transformer
    • An Ebook Cover Accessory*

    Three Different Sizes - Two Different Styles

    Style 01 – Evolution of the Original Playbook
    • This would be the safe choice, something guaranteed to sell in the millions, instantly recognizable as a Leaner Meaner version of the Original Playbook.
    • Two different Screen Sizes
    • Provide Competition to Nexus 7, Kindle Fire and the Nexus 10
    • Next Gen Playbook 7.7” – 3840 x 2160 @ 572 ppi (32 GB Wifi Only $139)
    • Next Gen Playbook 10” – 3840 x 2160 @ 440 ppi (64 GB Wifi Only $369 - 4G LTE $499)
    • Emphasis on Affordable, Practical, Durable, Functional.
    • R&D dollars spent on figuring out how to make this evolution model more affordable and figuring out all the features and functionality that will be crammed into the 10 inch model, and how many of those features trickle down into the 7.7 inch model at just a fraction of the cost


    Style 02 – Revolution of the Playbook
    • This would be the Premium Model, a look into the future. A radical design change. Partnership with a world renowned design company. Maybe even give it a different name.
    • Just one perfect screen size.
    • Provide Competition to the iPad
    • Next Gen Playbook 8.9” – 3840 x 2160 @ 495 ppi (64 GB Wifi Only $499 – 4G LTE $649)
    • Emphasis on Designer Good Looks, Exotic materials, High Performance, Individuality, Special Edition Branding.
    • R&D dollars spent on the design process and figuring out how to make the device super sexy and desirable, and to have all the functionality of the 10 inch model and more in a device half as thick and just as powerful.

    Will Expand on the following if i get time

    Carve out an Identity

    Building an Ecosystem and Services

    Closing Comments

    An Ebook Cover Accessory
    dougsymon and charliechan like this.
    03-23-13 05:12 PM
  2. sutimcon91's Avatar
    It's cool when i read through your ideas and wishes, I want it too. But do you think that the price and configuration is matching? I mean, with that 4K screen,finger print scanner, and everything, there is no way that BBRY can push the price down to $139 like your wish. Only in the case BBRY can maintain the sale of apps and games imo.
    03-23-13 06:16 PM
  3. Qaxl's Avatar
    It's cool when i read through your ideas and wishes, I want it too. But do you think that the price and configuration is matching? I mean, with that 4K screen,finger print scanner, and everything, there is no way that BBRY can push the price down to $139 like your wish. Only in the case BBRY can maintain the sale of apps and games imo.
    Yes I thought about that too, the only model with the entire range of hardware features would be the 10 inch evolution model. The 7.7" would have to let go of some hardware extras. Even the Revolution 8.9 inch model would only have about 80 to 90 percent of all the possible features from the 10 inch model due to its extremely thin profile.

    R&D dollars spent on figuring out how to make this evolution model more affordable and figuring out all the features and functionality that will be crammed into the 10 inch model, and how many of those features trickle down into the 7.7 inch model at just a fraction of the cost
    Think of them like this.

    The Budget Model 7.7 inch
    The Consumer Model 8.9 inch
    The Power User Model 10 inch
    03-24-13 04:54 AM
  4. Mr_F's Avatar
    Thanks for sharing your ideas. It was a long read but worth it. I disagree with your points about pricing but agree with pretty much everything else - particularly the bits regarding OS maturity and screen resolution. These two points are enough to make me think that we won't be seeing another tablet released for the foreseeable future. I believe Thorsten has alluded to this himself with comments along the lines of them needing to really figure out how to add value to the current tablet experience - as opposed to just serving up a generic 'me too' one.

    I've said this before but the only way BlackBerry can change its current predicament is through innovation. Innovation, innovation innovation! I believe they have a solid core in QNX. It's a core that really has a lot of potential and one that will allow them to innovate moving forward. However, the main hindrance to innovation is the sheer cost of it. And to be frank I do not believe BlackBerry to be in a strong enough cash position to innovate as many would like to see. This (imo) is another crucial reason why we will not see a new PlayBook (revolutionary as opposed to evolutionary) released in the foreseeable future.

    There's no reason to believe that this situation will not change with even a moderately successful launch of BB10 but until then I doubt we'll see the sort of innovation that truly fulfills Thorsten's promise of BB10 being a true 'mobile computing' platform.
    Qaxl likes this.
    03-24-13 07:03 AM
  5. Kevmobile's Avatar
    Whatever the hardware and software improvements, the 7" format factor will be a priority for me. I've no interest in any larger. Larger becomes less portable, which for me is the main function of a tablet.
    Carl Estes and qwerty4ever like this.
    03-24-13 12:09 PM
  6. BigAl_BB9900's Avatar
    Interesting post - you've evidently put a lot of thought into it and it is very clearly presented (takes hat off to OP.....)

    I hope that somebody at BBRY puts your views into the long-term PlayBook product development hat
    Last edited by BigAl_BB9900; 03-24-13 at 12:18 PM. Reason: typo
    Qaxl and Barracuda7772 like this.
    03-24-13 12:18 PM
  7. Qaxl's Avatar
    Since Thor is now Gone, Though i would give this a Bump see what happens.

    People should understand that a Tablet is needed, if for nothing else, then at least for getting the developers to make more apps for the platform (tablets are so so so so important for getting apps). also it would serve as a place for experimentation with new UI Ideas like BB10 Widgets.

    Are u reading Mr. Chen ?
    11-07-13 01:19 PM
  8. Gooseberry Falls's Avatar
    Time frame is right if BBRY is still around. Sony 4K HDTVs are running $5-6K so the price has to come down for that type of display. Still don't know if they can wait that long as more and more ppl are getting entrenched in an ecosystem. If BB10 has lots of apps by then, they would all have to be free to get people to switch. Devs won't buy into that. So it would be interesting to get your take on "Carve out an Identity". How are you going to get people to switch to a new platform?
    11-07-13 02:08 PM
  9. Qaxl's Avatar
    Since the question is on the Front Page of CB, i thought i would revisit this thread.

    Most of the things remain, but i have to say BB10 as an OS has come a long way since its early days, especially the Android Runtime has vastly improved. but i would still like to see better support in the OS for landscape orientation.

    I really hope BlackBerry decides to make another Tablet, And i hope they do it well.
    03-11-14 01:45 PM
  10. Dominic Hagan's Avatar
    so you don't want much then
    03-12-14 12:32 PM
  11. 93Aero's Avatar
    Whatever is made I just hope it's made with future integration in mind.

    Posted via CB10
    03-12-14 12:38 PM
  12. Fuzzballz's Avatar
    Great ideas OP, but why don't you just ask for one million DPI, a battery that never runs down, the ability to run Android & iOS apps, and a purchase price of $35 plus $50 rebate.
    pengy76 likes this.
    03-12-14 06:42 PM
  13. pengy76's Avatar
    I like the ideas, just feel like it will never happen, if they were to come out with a second gen playbook, I would probably buy it as well, as long as it ran netflix...lol
    03-12-14 08:40 PM
  14. Qaxl's Avatar
    so you don't want much then
    Yeah not much, thought id stick to the basics

    Whatever is made I just hope it's made with future integration in mind.

    Posted via CB10
    Amen to that.

    Great ideas OP, but why don't you just ask for one million DPI, a battery that never runs down, the ability to run Android & iOS apps, and a purchase price of $35 plus $50 rebate.
    Because i want more than just that and $35 is too much for me even after the $50 rebate.
    03-13-14 10:30 AM
  15. qwerty4ever's Avatar
    Because i want more than just that and $35 is too much for me even after the $50 rebate.
    You're starting to sound like Sad Old Man (SOM). Sometimes I get the impression that Sad Old Man spent some time at the Somme, France, as a participant in the historic Battle of the Somme (1916). Yeah, I know it is well before your birth but learning history never killed anyone, not learning from history certainly has resulted in the deaths of millions.
    03-14-14 10:14 AM

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