One of the things Playbook owners loved about also owning a Blackberry phone is that the two devices could work interchangeably through Blackberry Bridge. When paired with a Blackberry OS phone through Bridge, the Playbook can do everything the phone can do. That includes sending text messages, using the BBM service, synchronizing the Calendar, browsing contacts (on the phone), and more. Essentially, when connected, the Blackberry Playbook becomes another Blackberry phone entirely.
Naturally, Playbook owners were expecting these features to return with Blackberry 10. As it would turn out, Bridge v3.0 for Blackberry 10 is severely handicapped. In fact, you can’t actually do much with your Playbook when it’s paired with the new Z10. Functionality has been cut down to a limited set of features, and it’s quite unclear as to why this happened.
At this time, the Playbook can share internet access, manage local Z10 files remotely, and use the phone as a control device like a mouse and keyboard. Unfortunately, that’s all she wrote for functionality.
I’m willing to bet that there are quite a few Playbook owners surprised, and a little outraged, by this issue. At least the ones in Canada anyways, as the Z10 still has yet to be made available here in the States (sad face).
Luckily, Blackberry took to their official blog to announce that functionality will gradually be returning to Bridge. Information about what features would be added in later updates, and when they are coming was scantily clad. They did take some time to show off the current features that work with Blackberry Bridge and BB10.
Blackberry mentioned the same features that I did earlier, yet they shared the news primarily with images.
Regardless, the lack of information about the future of Bridge only leaves me to speculate accordingly.
Right now, there’s unequivocally no guarantee that the Blackberry 10 OS will make its way to the Playbook. The tablet doesn’t have the same hardware resources as the Z10, so this may be more improbable than people think. If the Playbook does see a Blackberry 10 update, it will probably be severely stripped down so that it’s less demanding overall.
The Z10, for example, is working with 2GB of installed RAM, while the Playbook is only working with 1. The lack of memory makes a tremendous difference in performance, especially in the mobile computing world.
Yet, Playbook OS 2.0 and Blackberry 10 use the same basic QNX structure, which means that Blackberry can essentially offer native support on both devices. What does this translate to?
Perhaps, we won’t need Bridge in the future. Imagine simply pairing your Playbook to your Z10, and features just seamlessly work. I’m willing to bet that’s exactly what Blackberry is going for, which would, in turn, explain the delay in functionality.
The Bridge app is going to be used exclusively for implementing specific pairing features, like file browsing and features that are already there. The features we’ve come to expect, like BBM and messaging support, will most likely be baked natively into both the BB10 and Playbook OS.
One can only hope, right?
“We are also planning to bring BBM and other applications as part of a future update later this year.”
That was clearly mentioned in the recent post about Blackberry Bridge. So, no matter how Blackberry decides to implement it, at least we have a verbal assurance that it’s coming. Then again, even a verbal guarantee is subject to change.
Keep in mind that the ideas expressed here are merely that, ideas for the future. That does not, by any means, guarantee what functionality is coming in future versions of Bridge or Blackberry 10. Outside of the simple fact that previously available features will be coming, most of what has been discussed here is just speculation.