BlackBerry PlayBook: The Apps Are Already Coming

Adobe AIR Development

You may know that many attendees were surprised during the Adobe MAX keynote when Kevin Lynch of Adobe revealed that the tablet he was using was a BlackBerry PlayBook. You may have also seen RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis joining him soon afterward for a detailed BlackBerry PlayBook app demo.

What many of you might not know is that, owing to the ease-of-development of the BlackBerry Tablet OS and related tools, developers are already writing apps—and quickly. (Keep in mind that the BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK for Adobe AIR has only been out since Monday!) Here’s a quick highlight of what developers are already building for the BlackBerry PlayBook.

First, there’s the eUnity app from Client Outlook that Kevin demonstrated using data streaming over the conference hall’s WiFi connection. eUnity allows medical professionals to share and collaborate around medical images.

According to MobiHealthNews, “it only took [Client Outlook’s] developers two hours to get its eUnity application running on the PlayBook, because the software development kit (SDK) that RIM provided was so easy to use.”

Image Credit: Shao128, Retrieved via CrackBerry Forums

Next, we have the folks at CrackBerry.Com. Claiming to be the first ever BlackBerry PlayBook app (the judges are still poring over the photo finish), they’re highlighting a CrackBerry launcher produced by Shaosoft.

They assure readers that “the app will only get prettier and more feature-packed by the time you get your hands on a PlayBook of your own.”

Now, check out these two tweets from developer Jerome Carty the very day of the PlayBook SDK introduction:

Jerome was kind enough to provide a video sample of the browser after a bit more polish (2 1/2 hours total development time, ed.):

Here’s what Jerome had to say about the whole process:

“Once I heard the PlayBook announcement, I was excited to get coding. The recent announcement of the AIR SDK being made available was a motivator and I started to write something that could be a challenge so I can gain knowledge of the APIs as fast as possible.

I was amazed to find that everything I needed was available via the API and made it simple to develop a browser for the PlayBook within a half an hour! I cannot wait to get started on my submission for App World now that I know how straight-forward it is to program for the PlayBook.”

One reason why Jerome is eager to get his app submitted into BlackBerry App World: we’re giving away BlackBerry PlayBooks to developers whose Adobe AIR apps are accepted into BlackBerry App World prior to the PlayBook launch. (More details as to eligibility coming soon.) Post a comment and let us know about your own BlackBerry PlayBook app development story!

About Douglas Soltys

Word Czar. Web 7.0 (in beta). Blogs and tweets and wonders.

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  • Wayne Uroda

    I am coming to playbook development as a blackberry developer. I am unclear about this though, is there any way to develop apps for the playbook without the very expensive flash builder 4 from adobe? Keep in mind I have zero experience with flex or air development.

    I have a 60 day trial of flash builder 4 for now, but does RIM plan on releasing a free development environment? Or putting together some better documentation for those new at air development?

    • Subha

      Hi…. As a BlackBerry application developer I’m also trying to make some demo app in Flash Builder 4. But initially I need some demo application to have some idea about playbook development as I don’t have any knowledge about action script. guys could you please give me some link to download playbook app. Thanks in advance.

  • Harry Garland

    Who do I contact for technical support in getting the SDK installed right? I followed all the directions, and I got the VM to work, and I got the BlackBerry SDK installed in Flash Builder, but then when I go to do the launch to the IP address of the Playbook simulator, it gives me a cryptic error:

    An internal error occurred during: “Launching TestBerry”.

    Any ideas?

    • Fredbloggs

      Got the same problem here……

    • Anonymous

      Harry – sorry to hear that you are experiencing issues. The best place to get help with PlayBook development is on our Support Forums for AIR development (

      As a general answer, this error is likely caused by the need to upgrade to Flash Builder 4.0.1 rather than using FlashBuilder 4.0. I will update our documentation if that isn’t already covered.

      • Harry Garland

        Yes, that was the problem. Should be made more clear in the docs that we need to do the upgrade to 4.0.1.

  • Rbooth

    “Poring” eh Douglas? :)

  • Bastien Koert

    Now this is interesting. Building AIR apps for BB PB.

  • Airdevdude

    also check for a example app floating around.

    Air Dev Dude

  • James Muir
  • Dany Gaviria

    // Simple Web Browser Code

    import flash.display.Sprite;
    import flash.display.Stage;
    import flash.display.StageAlign;
    import flash.display.StageScaleMode;
    import flash.geom.Rectangle;
    import flash.text.TextField;
    import flash.text.TextFieldAutoSize;
    import flash.text.TextFormat;

    import org.casalib.util.AlignUtil;
    import org.dp.display.Marco;

    import qnx.ui.buttons.Button;
    import qnx.ui.text.TextInput;

    public class Navigator extends Sprite
    private var _header:Marco;
    private var _textInput:TextInput;
    private var _textFormat:TextFormat = new TextFormat;
    private var _buttonClose:Button = new Button;
    public function Navigator()
    stage.scaleMode = StageScaleMode.NO_SCALE;
    stage.align = StageAlign.TOP_LEFT;
    _header = new Marco(stage.stageWidth,50,0,0,0×000000,0,0x000000,0.85);
    _textInput = new TextInput;
    _textInput.width = stage.stageWidth – 200;
    _buttonClose.width = _buttonClose.height;
    // _textInput.addEventListener(MouseEvent.CLICK,_textInput_onClickHandler);
    // _textInput.border = true;
    //_textInput.autoSize = TextFieldAutoSize.LEFT;
    // _textFormat.size = 12;
    // _textInput.defaultTextFormat = _textFormat;
    AlignUtil.alignMiddleLeft(_textInput,new Rectangle(_header.x,_header.y,_header.width,_header.height));
    AlignUtil.alignMiddleRight(_buttonClose,new Rectangle(_header.x,_header.y,_header.width-10,_header.height));
    // AlignUtil.alignMiddleLeft(_textInput,new Rectangle(20,0,_header.width,_header.height));
    private function _textInput_onKeyDownHandler(evt:KeyboardEvent):void{
    private function _buttonClose_onClickHandler(evt:Event):void{
    private function _textInput_onClickHandler(evt:Event):void{

    private function getFeed():void{
    var url:String = _textInput.text;

    //OF THE WEBVIEW COMPONENT – the component does contain some bugs and usability issues currently
    var rect:Rectangle = new Rectangle(0, _header.height,stage.stageWidth, stage.stageHeight);
    var webView:QNXStageWebView = new QNXStageWebView();
    webView.stage = stage;
    webView.viewPort = rect;
    webView.autoFit = true;

    webView.enableCookies = true;
    webView.enableJavascript = true;
    webView.enableScrolling = true;

    • Sven_Hoek

      Odd Question, but where did the components:
      import org.casalib.util.AlignUtil;
      import org.dp.display.Marco;
      Come from?


  • Nikita Kataria

    I like BlackBerry PlayBook <3

  • SS-GS

    is it has a BBM ?????

  • PlaybookforChristmas

    PLEASE, PLEASE make the Playbook available for sale ASAP. We bought an iPad and it was so horrible we sold it via eBay. It was aweful. At least make the Playbook available for purchase for the holiday season. I want a link where I can send my wife to buy it for me for Christmas – I don’t care when you deliver it, just please make it available for the holiday season. I can’t wait to own one!

  • Ronald A Johnson

    Will I be able to download the movies and music I purchased from iTunes to the new BB Tablet?

  • Wesley

    I feel very stupid asking this, but I am a Machine language programmer, interested in OS, hardware software interfacing, not all of the highlevel stuff you guys do. How do I get my hands on the hardware specs for a Playbook? I am working on a Real Estate application, and I need to access the GPS, and signal strength for the cell, Blue tooth, and Wi-Fi.. any ideas?

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  • Tiago

    (More details as to eligibility coming soon.) Well…. US and Canada only? Maybe UK?

  • jacymose

    Impressive review if they can try to link out the blackberry phone services so called black messenger to the play book than it would be awesome one!

  • Mike Amera

    With Steve Jobs making fun of all the tablet competition this week, I hope the Blackberry Playbook delivers. I constantly get responses from iPad junkies of “Blackerry Playbook, sure, but where is it? We bet it wont be released at all”.

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