BlackBerry PlayBook Troubleshooting Tips for Tablet Newbies

Got a new BlackBerry PlayBook tablet? Or planning to pick up a discounted PlayBook for a friend or loved one this holiday season? CIO.com's Al Sacco offers up six quick and easy PlayBook troubleshooting tips that all RIM tablet owners should know.

By
Mon, December 05, 2011

CIO — Due to a number of holiday sales and other deep tablet discounts, Research In Motion 's (RIM) BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is flying off the shelves. (BestBuy.com is sold out of all three versions of the PlayBook, for instance, and RIM's own online store is out of the 16GB tablet, with just a limited supply of the 32GB and 64GB PlayBooks.)

Locked BlackBerry Bridge Windows on the PlayBook
Locked BlackBerry Bridge Windows on the PlayBook Tablet

That means lots of new PlayBook owners will soon be scouring the Web for BlackBerry tablet tips, tricks, apps and anything else they can find. If you're one of those new users, you won't want to miss my latest list of must-know PlayBook tips.

I've been using a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet since it was first released last spring. And though the device and tablet form factor in general has really grown on me over the past seven months, the PlayBook and its associated software is still a bit "quirky,"--especially the BlackBerry "Bridge" app, which is currently required to access your BlackBerry smartphone's native e-mail, calendar and other PIM apps.

What follows is a quick list of a half dozen BlackBerry PlayBook troubleshooting tips and tricks to help overcome some of the minor issues that new PlayBook owners are sure to experience. And if you're looking for more tips and tricks or lists of the best PlayBooks apps, check out the stories below.

(Read "PlayBook Battery Tips: How to Make Your Tablet Last Longer," "PlayBook Security: How to Protect Your Tablet," and "Basic PlayBook Tips for All RIM Tablet Users."

1) The BlackBerry PlayBook Master Reset

You can quickly restart or turn off your BlackBerry PlayBook by tapping the battery indicator in the top right corner of your tablet's display and then selecting the appropriate on-screen option. But what if your PlayBook's software freezes up and the screen becomes unresponsive? (Unfortunately, this situation isn't exactly uncommon.)

The BlackBerry master reset option really comes in handy whenever your tablet decides to lock up or your screen simply goes black, but the device is still turned on. To manually reset your PlayBook when your screen is frozen, simply hold down the PlayBook's tiny, round power button, located atop the device, until the PlayBook turns off. Then hold the button again for a second or two to turn your table back on.

Voila! Your PlayBook is up and running again. (If your PlayBook does not turn back on, plug it into a power outlet and ensure it has enough power to operate.)

2) Trouble with BlackBerry Bridge Notifications

The "buggiest" thing about RIM's PlayBook, at least in my experience, is the BlackBerry Bridge app, which gives PlayBook users access to their BlackBerry smartphone's native e-mail, calendar, tasks and other PIM apps, via a Bluetooth wireless connection. If you don't use a BlackBerry smartphone along with your PlayBook, you can skip this tip, along with the next two tricks.

Unfortunately, while using your PlayBook to access your BlackBerry's e-mail and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) messages, the message notifications in the upper left corner of your PlayBook's display don't always correspond with the actual number of new messages on your device. Or maybe you already read and deleted a new BBM message, but the notification icon still says you have a new BBM.

Honestly, it's sometimes easier just to ignore the new message indicator when it's "acting up." But that kind of defeats the purpose of having message notifications altogether, or it decreases the value, at least. Plus, it's just annoying when your PlayBook says you have a new message, but you don't .

You can do away with errant PlayBook message notifications by tapping the new message icons in the top left corner of your PlayBook and then deleting them directly from the dropdown menu that appears on screen, instead of within the specific message inboxes. And if that doesn't work, you can simply disconnect your tablet and your smartphone momentarily, by turning off your PlayBook's Bluetooth or disabling the BlackBerry Bridge app.

To turn off the PlayBook's Bluetooth or disable the Bridge app, just tap the appropriate icon in the upper right corner of your tablet's display and then "toggle" the On switch into the Off position.

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