When the BlackBerry PlayBook first came out, the BlackBerry Bridge feature enabled you to link the tablet to a BlackBerry smartphone (did I say BlackBerry enough?). This allowed you to view your sync your calendar, contacts and emails to your PlayBook. Of course most people just check their email on their smartphones or their PCs, so it really wasn’t the most applauded feature. But this time RIM’s got something else up their sleeve.
Thanks to OS 2.0, this symbiotic connection of a BlackBerry smartphone and a PlayBook with BlackBerry Bridge has been strengthened by something called “Open On”. It allows you to open up an image from your smartphone on your PlayBook. It’s easy to use and integrated into the standard BlackBerry contextual menu. With an image opened up on the smartphone, you can select “Open on (insert your PlayBook’s name here)”, you’ll see the image show up on the Playbook.
This is a neat feature, which although isn’t going to sell millions more PlayBooks, is impressive and immediately will put a smile on the owner of any PlayBook/BlackBerry user. It can a little slow to open some pictures, taking up to a few seconds sometimes (almost an eternity in mobile tech). There are also a few details which I feel are worthwhile to mention. Like when you open a picture on the PlayBook, your BlackBerry goes automatically into “remote mode”. This is useful in presentations when you just showing the picture on the Playbook and not really use it. You can zoom into the picture by double tapping on your phone, yet you can’t navigate around the image unless you zoom out again. I can’t help but think that anyone testing out this feature, like me, has tried (and failed) to use pinch-to-zoom to navigate an image. The ability to pan and zoom around the image using two fingers is something I’ll be crossing my fingers for. Of course if you’re using your PlayBook, you can pinch-to-zoom all you want, you just can’t do it from the remote function.
I had about a few moments where I’ve used “Open On” too! Thought experiment: Picture you lying on a couch and you’ve succumbed to a severe case of laziness, yet you want to show a picture on your phone to someone who is more than two feet away. Now you can just open the picture on the PlayBook and they can pick up the PlayBook. It’s a win-win situation: you don’t have to move, and they can see the picture on a beautiful screen.
But that’s not all (infomercial-style)! This is where it gets useful; it even works in the Browser! Just navigate to any page on the browser of your BlackBerry smartphone, and select “View on …”, and you’ll see browsing on your tablet in no time. You can even hold down on a link to bring up the action menu, and select “Open Link on….” to open the link on the PlayBook. In about a second, your PlayBook will magically open the browser and open that web page, giving you that ultimate browsing experience whether you’re controlling the PlayBook from the couch, auditorium or in your hands.
This is convenience at its finest. When browsing on a sub-4” screen starts to get frustrating, just open it on the PlayBook and you’re good to go! You don’t have to save the link, send it to yourself, and re-open it on another tablet just to switch the web browsing experience. Plus, it’s a great way to share the link with another person without anyone moving or sharing the same small screen like a chump.
I love it. Plain and simple. It’s simple and effective. This is the kind of feature that makes me wonder how other companies didn’t think of it first. But then it hits me. It’s the kind of feature that you’d never think of until you need it. Just today, when I started thinking to myself ,“Man, reading this article on this Torch is getting lame…what if I could use my PlayB…”. And there’s the lightbulb. I didn’t have to weigh out the options if it was worth it to fire up the PlayBook and find the article again or not. In a second, I was back on the PlayBook reading the fanboi comments. You can’t really hate a feature like this, as it’s so simple and it works well, although some developments with the BlackBerry remote function would definitely help!