Less than 2 weeks ago, a colleague and I set out to accomplish what proved to be a challenging task: successfully loading BlackBerry 10 OS onto a BlackBerry PlayBook. We knew it wouldn't be easy, and we knew the risks involved. We knew that our PlayBooks may never work properly again. But we decided to give it a try, and I'm very glad we did. Check out the video above for a quick walkthrough of BlackBerry 10 on the BlackBerry PlayBook, or continue reading for a more in-depth analysis.
Now before we get into the details, let's be clear. This is NOT an official BlackBerry 10 for BlackBerry PlayBook build. In fact, it isn't even an official BlackBerry 10 OS. This particular version was built for the BlackBerry Dev Alpha device, and was released to developers on September 25th, 2012. If you only have one PlayBook, and don't want to risk the possibility of the device becoming bricked, you should not try this. If you're feeling adventurous and you just can't wait to load BlackBerry 10 OS onto your PlayBook, instructions will be listed in detail very soon. For now, let's take a look at the the operating system, and how it performs on the PlayBook.
The first thing you will notice when you boot up BB10 on your PlayBook is that it still contains the Tablet OS style UI. That means no active frames, no BlackBerry Hub, and unforunately the incredible BlackBerry 10 virtual keyboard is also absent. Now you may ask, "If all of these great features are missing, what's the point in having this OS?" The point is that BlackBerry 10 has native cascades support.
Since we have only been testing this OS for less than 48 hours, we haven't yet had the chance to install or test many apps. So far, I can confirm this:
Browser - The BB10 Browser does work, but there are a few minor bugs. For instance, when typing a website address into the address bar, the keyboard covers the text input box, and you cannot see what you are typing. This keyboard bug is consistent across many other apps as well, including BBM. The Bookmarks page also fails to load.
BBM - BlackBerry Messenger is functional on this device/OS. The UI is very smooth and (almost) everything appears to work just fine. I was able to have a few conversations on BBM and the only minor annoyance I encountered was not being able to set a display picture (as well as the keyboard bug mentioned above). NOTE: The OS is currently experiencing an issue retrieving my BlackBerry ID, therefore BBM is no longer working on my device. I am working on a fix for this issue and will keep you updated.
BlackBerry World - Due to the BlackBerry ID issues mentioned above, BlackBerry World also fails to load. I did not have a chance to test this app before the issues began, so unfortunately I cannot yet confirm whether or not this app works. I will be working on a fix for this issue in the coming days.
BB10 Settings app - This app is hit-and-miss. Certain options work, others don't. Thanks to the Tablet OS UI, you can just swipe down from the top bezel to access the OS2 style Settings page whenever you need to.
Camera - The BB10 camera does work. I was able to take a few pictures with it without any issues. Normal camera mode, video recording, and Time Shift are all functional.
Contacts - Unfortunately the Contacts app does not function properly. It opens in landscape mode, and initially seems like it will work, but the problems begin when you try to add a contact. The top bar gets stretched too far across the screen, and the 'Save' button is not visible. Without that button, you can't add a contact.
Calendar - The calendar app loads, and seems pretty smooth, but the UI gets stretched a bit too much when viewing the month tab.
In this particular build, the icons in the top right corner of the home screen are inaccessible. Rotation Lock, Bluetooth, WiFi, and Battery indicator icons do not work, though oddly enough, the Settings icon does work.
Software Updates and BlackBerry ID Settings are not functional in the OS2-style Settings menu.
It appears that BlackBerry Bridge does not work.
The backlight appears to timeout much quicker than the length of time defined in the settings.
If you only have 1 PlayBook, this OS build is definitely not a suitable replacement for OS 2.1. If you have an extra PlayBook lying around, or if you really want to try BB10 on the PlayBook, I will be posting a tutorial very soon with specific setup instructions. Be sure to check back here at BlackBerryOS.com in the coming days to find out more!