Poynt on the BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet [Sneak Peek]

We saw a glimpse of the Poynt application running on the BlackBerry PlayBook at CES, but how would you all like an extra taste? Although the app is still a work in progress prior to the tablet’s launch, everything looks polished and functioning; just like the smartphone app for BlackBerry, you can look up people by name, phone, or address, search for businesses in the Yellow Pages, look up nearby movie times and see their reviews, and scope out restaurants in your neighbourhood. It looks like the gas prices feature isn’t implemented quite yet, but weather’s there, chilling out in the background. Recently, the mobile app added support for event lookups, which I’m sure will find its way to the PlayBook sooner or later.

The interesting thing about Poynt on the PlayBook is that there’s no GPS on the tablet, and for a location-based search app, that’s kind of important. Will it use Wi-Fi positioning, or suckle some coordinates from a BlackBerry smartphone’s teat using Bridge? One would hope that the WiMAX version coming to Sprint will sport some GPS, since the PlayBook really is a good size for providing turn-by-turn directions to drivers (a feature Poynt sports for just about any result you pull up).

So far, a lot of the PlayBook apps I’m seeing aren’t really instilling me with a lot of confidence; it looks like they’re as bare-bones as possible so devs can just get their free tablet and be done with it. It’s good to see long-time RIM partners like Poynt really going to town and make a smooth app that proves the PlayBook is a viable platform for mobile devs. One of the first serious apps that got previewed was Fantasy Football, which also had a significant amount of polish, but I’m going to dig around and see if we can a few other shining examples.

  • “… there’s no GPS on the tablet”.

    Says who? Is that just a guess, based on the fact they haven’t officially said there *is* a GPS, or do you know something about it that nobody else yet claims to know?

    • Good question. I’ve been operating under the assumption that the PlayBook doesn’t have GPS since it’s not listed in the official specs, but I’m totally open to pleasant surprises.

      • Anonymous

        I think the the GPS is integrated into the processor of the Playbook, omap4430 uses TI’s WL1283 module which is industry’s first single chip to provide 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth, FM transmit/receive, and a GPS receiver.

  • Anonymous

    I think Playbook has a GPS functionality but RIM is yet to open up the API’s to access GPS, cameras etc

    • Sorry, but the WiLink 1283 module is a separate device, not part of the processor. It’s quite possible that RIM’s design for the tablet does include that part. It’s even possible it will be supported in the first release or any time that will make a difference. Neither is yet fact, unfortunately, though I’d welcome proof!

      • Okay, I’ve got a couple of actual facts now, and more speculation. Thanks to @janetsa in the forums, we have a TI blog post (http://e2e.ti.com/blogs_/b/mobile_momentum/archive/2011/01/08/shout-out-to-rim-stepping-it-up-with-the-blackberry-r-playbook-tm-tablet.aspx) that confirms that the WiLink 7.0 is in fact used in the PlayBook. There’s still no official confirmation that the rest of the GPS circuitry (antenna, mostly) is present, but given that would cost effectively nothing, it seems certain it would be in there. RIM dev support finally confirms that they will not confirm GPS support until it’s officially announced somewhere (see latest webcast Q&A). That leaves probably just software (possibly incomplete), battery consumption, and timing as the only good reasons for not making it official. I doubt such highly integrated stuff uses much juice, so that leaves just timing. I’m basically now convinced that there is a GPS and that the lack of official acknowledgement is just the marketing types hoarding features in order to manage the release process. Control freaks.:)

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like sf49er is right, the blog post should be updated.

    • sf49er is guessing as much as Simon was, but reached the opposite conclusion. Unfortunately nobody knows for sure. I wish we did.

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