BlackBerry, With Focus on Computing, Updates Bridge to PlayBook

BlackBerry Bridge 3.0 connects the Z10 smartphone to the PlayBook. A BlackBerry 10 update for the PlayBook is in the works.

BlackBerry has updated its free BlackBerry Bridge application so that users can connect the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to its new BlackBerry 10–running smartphones, the BlackBerry Z10 and the still-weeks-away Q10.

The PlayBook's OS and BlackBerry 10 have their foundations in the QNX software that Research In Motion—as it was known before the Jan. 30 announcement that it had changed its name to BlackBerry—purchased in April 2010, and the tablet has been called a stepping stone and a precursor to BlackBerry 10.

BlackBerry Bridge version 3.0 enables a user to share his or her phone's Internet or Intranet connection with the PlayBook; to use a BlackBerry 10 phone as a remote control for the PlayBook, including when the tablet is connected to a TV via High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI); open bookmarks and files on the BlackBerry 10 Share framework; and access all of the smartphone's files through the PlayBook's File Manager application.

"Our work is not done, and we will keep pushing the boundaries of what's possible between BlackBerry 10 devices, and beyond," Andrey F., on the company's software product management team, wrote Feb. 6 in a post on the Inside BlackBerry blog. "I can't wait to share with you more updates on how BlackBerry Bridge will continue to evolve in the future!"

Introducing BlackBerry 10 and the new smartphones in New York Jan. 30, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said that the company is working on a BlackBerry 10 upgrade for the PlayBook.

"We're working on BlackBerry 10 software for all the PlayBooks that are out there," said Heins.

He added that BlackBerry will definitely continue to work in the tablet space, "But we are looking at specific services," he explained. "We want to provide a value proposition that is not just the hardware but has value on top of it."

That said, new hardware is also in the works.

"I've asked my teams to build another one," Heins told Reuters, according to a Feb. 5 report, adding that he needs it to make money. "If the hardware doesn't provide the margins I need," said Heins, "then it makes no sense doing it."

He has continued to reiterate that what BlackBerry is building is bigger than any one device.

"We intend to lead the movement from mobile communications to true mobile computing," Heins said during his Jan. 30 presentation. Listing the growing areas of our lives that we'll soon be wirelessly connected to, from homes and cars to our health care records, Heins said, "Wherever you are [that is where BlackBerry will be]. This is the promise of the BlackBerry 10 platform."

Heins and Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben repeatedly tried to make clear all that the company accomplished in deciding to build a new from-scratch platform, instead of adopting an existing one—many analysts, during the long, slow development of BlackBerry 10, believed it should just have adopted Android. The platform, the BlackBerry executives said, will last the company through its next decade, and is powerful enough to act as the brain behind a computing setup. Soon, a user will be able to dock a BlackBerry 10 device, connect it to a keyboard, a mouse and a screen, and be relieved of the need for a desktop.

Boulben told Reuters that vision "is going to start to materialize this year."

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