1. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    The official BlackBerry PlayBook mini keyboard and case combination is a wonderful piece of hardware. I got mine on sale today for $99.00 and I highly recommend it to anyone who has to do a lot of typing.

    But be warned... It breaks "What's up" and any other app that relies on the magnetometer sensor.

    There is a strong magnet embedded in the case to hold the folding stand in place. And as you may know, the on-board magnetometer just does not work at all when near an external magnet. So please remember to remove your PB from the case if you intend to use the Point & View feature.
    05-13-12 09:57 PM
  2. playbookster's Avatar
    thanks for the heads up
    05-13-12 11:00 PM
  3. FF22's Avatar
    Very interesting and totally inconsiderate design feature!
    BuzzStarField likes this.
    05-13-12 11:35 PM
  4. jafobabe's Avatar
    Thanks Buzz...
    I'll be sure to take the PB out of that case.
    05-14-12 01:42 AM
  5. madman0141's Avatar
    Thank you, wonder if it does other things to other apps.
    05-14-12 05:03 AM
  6. togardergrosse's Avatar
    No wonder the folding case always closed, so there is magnet in the case!
    Thanks for the info. Got mine for less than 2 weeks but never know that it has magnet inside.
    05-14-12 05:09 AM
  7. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    Very interesting and totally inconsiderate design feature!
    Another doh! moment for RIM's industrial design team. I think that RIM should recall the cases and ship replacements without the magnet.
    05-14-12 06:07 AM
  8. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    Can we turn this thread into a petition for a product recall? I was thinking of complaining to RIM but nothing will be done unless hordes of consumers also voice their displeasure.
    kbz1960 likes this.
    05-14-12 06:29 AM
  9. kbz1960's Avatar
    One thing I've always wondered about the magnets in the cases. I know with the old floppy disc's a magnet could erase it. I guess there is enough shielding in the devices to prevent this now?
    05-14-12 06:48 AM
  10. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    One thing I've always wondered about the magnets in the cases. I know with the old floppy disc's a magnet could erase it. I guess there is enough shielding in the devices to prevent this now?
    Flash memory, the kind used for internal memory and sd cards, are not magnetic media so they can't be erased by applying a magnetic field. In addition, the magnetic cases for OS7 devices do not affect the operation of compass apps because the device must be removed from the holster to be able to use them. It is a problem for the new case because it is designed to be used without removing the playbook. This means that the magnet is always in close proximity to the magnetometer chip and overwhelms the earth's magnetic field.
    Last edited by BuzzStarField; 05-14-12 at 07:25 AM.
    05-14-12 07:07 AM
  11. Spencerdl's Avatar
    Does anyone know if there's an aftermarket "REAL" Leather case for the PlayBook/keyboard combo?
    05-14-12 07:21 AM
  12. alnamvet68's Avatar
    Does anyone know if there's an aftermarket "REAL" Leather case for the PlayBook/keyboard combo?
    ...and I thought I was the only one obsessed with real leather. Anyhoo, another reason why I won't buy the keyboard, vinyl case, 4 rubber bands that hold the PB in place, and now a magnet to gum up the works; what else will we find? Gee RIM, I really expected so much more.
    Spencerdl likes this.
    05-14-12 07:45 AM
  13. kbz1960's Avatar
    Has the petition started?
    05-14-12 07:48 AM
  14. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    ...and I thought I was the only one obsessed with real leather. Anyhoo, another reason why I won't buy the keyboard, vinyl case, 4 rubber bands that hold the PB in place, and now a magnet to gum up the works; what else will we find? Gee RIM, I really expected so much more.
    There is a fifth elastic band to keep the case closed (in place of the magnetic closure on BB smartphone cases). This is a good thing - but why oh why, did they use a magnet to hold the back-support in place? What were they thinking?!!!!
    05-14-12 07:53 AM
  15. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    Has the petition started?
    Yes. Please post reasonable reviews of the keyboard or case here. Quality of your review is important - you don't have to be all negative but we are trying to get RIM's attention here. So quantity is a key consideration - the more people who show that they care, the better.
    05-14-12 08:04 AM
  16. FF22's Avatar
    Recalls are expensive. Testing is usually required to show that the flaw is real and critical.

    Amazon's original NON-lighted case for the Kindle had a defect but it was more odious (obviously, to WhatsUp, this is pretty damaging). It would cause the Kindle 3 to reboot or fail to restart. It took quite a few months but once Amazon acknowledged the flaw, it either replaced the case with the more expensive LIGHTED case, or gave people a full credit for the more expensive case so they could chose what they wanted.

    What other apps currently use the Magnetometer?

    But if what you've noticed is correct, there's no doubt that the case is flawed. I presume that the "leg" flap would flap around if not kept in place by the magnet so that manually digging it out would make that flap dangle???

    I guess a return is is order if you find the situation untenable.
    05-14-12 08:38 AM
  17. apengue1's Avatar
    Yeah,I always take the playbook out of the case and recalibrate the magnemometer when I use what's up.
    05-14-12 08:55 AM
  18. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    Recalls are expensive. Testing is usually required to show that the flaw is real and critical.

    Amazon's original NON-lighted case for the Kindle had a defect but it was more odious (obviously, to WhatsUp, this is pretty damaging). It would cause the Kindle 3 to reboot or fail to restart. It took quite a few months but once Amazon acknowledged the flaw, it either replaced the case with the more expensive LIGHTED case, or gave people a full credit for the more expensive case so they could chose what they wanted.

    What other apps currently use the Magnetometer?

    But if what you've noticed is correct, there's no doubt that the case is flawed. I presume that the "leg" flap would flap around if not kept in place by the magnet so that manually digging it out would make that flap dangle???

    I guess a return is is order if you find the situation untenable.
    Returning my keyboard is not a reasonable option because it works perfectly - I'll just use it without the case. I am more concerned as a developer that any app that uses the magnetometer (that is almost any current or future augmented reality app is broken on PlayBooks using this popular case. The problem is not just isolated to my app. Many other devs will soon find their in-boxes filled with support requests (or more likely a lot of zero star reviews in App World). This case is a public relations Trojan horse. Early action would help mitigate the downside and protect RIM's eroding reputation.

    I know that a formal recall is probably not an option, but future runs of the case should use a different design to keep the flap in its place. Something like the Amazon solution that you mention would be appropriate.
    05-14-12 09:49 AM
  19. FF22's Avatar
    I guess they could have the flap tuck into the rear or velcro to keep it closed.

    Have you contacted support about it yet or hit their "official" forum?

    And depending on aesthetics and where the magnet is located, a dremel tool can work wonders! Is the magnet in the flap or rear of the case? How large?
    05-14-12 10:11 AM
  20. peter9477's Avatar
    I really suspect this was known, and simply considered not a serious concern. I can't really picture many people wanting to pick up their entire keyboard+case+PlayBook combination and swing it around to use apps that involve the accelerator or magnetometer. Generally speaking the use cases involving the keyboard case and those sorts of sensors seem to be mutually exclusive.

    Note: nothing I said above states that nobody would want to do that. Nothing I said states that there are no use cases involving both things.

    I'm merely pointing out that I suspect this was a known issue and considered not significant enough to warrant a change because the design would be acceptable to the vast majority of purchasers of the keyboard case.

    Personally, I'd pull the PlayBook out of the case for any such use.
    jafobabe likes this.
    05-14-12 10:20 AM
  21. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    I'm merely pointing out that I suspect this was a known issue and considered not significant enough to warrant a change because the design would be acceptable to the vast majority of purchasers of the keyboard case.

    Personally, I'd pull the PlayBook out of the case for any such use.
    I hope that this is not true but I have an open mind. All I know is that I have been keeping my PB is a nice leather zipper case for several months now and haven't felt the urge to take it out of its nest until I obtained the mini keyboard.

    The result was a frozen compass and an app that appeared to have a software flaw. I tried several options in an attempt to correct the situation before I found the magnet in the case. I don't think that many new customers would be a circumspect as I am and would tend to write a nasty review or (hopefully) sent a request for support to me.

    In any event, I will have to implement some software tests to check the magnetometer output for a frozen state and pop-up a suitable warning. I recommend that other developers who rely on the magnetometer to do likewise.
    05-14-12 10:40 AM
  22. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    I guess they could have the flap tuck into the rear or velcro to keep it closed.

    Have you contacted support about it yet or hit their "official" forum?

    And depending on aesthetics and where the magnet is located, a dremel tool can work wonders! Is the magnet in the flap or rear of the case? How large?
    I've contacted customer support and was not able to communicate the nature of the problem - I gave up when she suggested that I return the keyboard to the store for a refund. I have also posted in the official developer forum and contacted an Administrator via PM.

    As peter9477 indicated, this may be the result of a rational design decision. If other devs are as concerned as I am, I invite them to respond in the developers' forum. In the meantime, I will take another detour from my planned activities and design a way to detect the presence of a strong field and warn the user to avoid sources of magnetic interference.

    Edited to add link to potential support issue - compass apps - BlackBerry Support Community Forums
    Last edited by BuzzStarField; 05-14-12 at 03:45 PM.
    peter9477 likes this.
    05-14-12 11:09 AM
  23. westronic's Avatar
    I think my keyboard will arrive today, and then I will test it. After testing, if confirmed, I will contact support.
    BuzzStarField and peter9477 like this.
    05-14-12 12:45 PM
  24. mappau-dev's Avatar
    we habe the same problem with our application and the keyboard (compass)
    we added a short test to our application description and we wrote our contact at rim about this problem.
    05-18-12 06:23 AM
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