BlackBerry PlayBook Video Chat app first look
What a mouthful of a title! And also, it's finally here! After weeks of making customers wait for the ability to call your best friends from your BlackBerry PlayBook, RIM finally decided to take my advice and release an app to do so.
Unfortunately, this app has a really big downfall that makes it almost unusable.
But before we get into the negatives, let me explain how the app works and the few good things I've found.
The screenshot above shows what you will first see when you boot up the application. It's clean and very straightforward.
On the top left, you've got the option to view both video and audio contacts, as well as a button that sets your "Do Not Disturb" status. The top right shows a "Video Preview" window, in which you can see yourself and make sure that you look absolutely stunning for that front-facing 1080p camera.
Below are pictures of the UI elements that show up when you toggle/press the button.
See that large box in the middle? The one that contains a person?
Pressing that box throws you into the "New Contact" window (obviously), and this is where my problems begin.
Right under the entry box for the BlackBerry ID Username is this little piece of disappointing text: Requires a valid BlackBerry ID email address.
What?! RIM means to tell me that after all their fuss of creating a video-calling app for the PlayBook, I can only call other PlayBook users?! I'm the only person in the offline world who I know personally who has one, and it's not even mine!
Look, I really am happy that the front-camera has an app now. What I'm not happy about is not being able to use that app. Why RIM couldn't have taken an Adium-esque approach is way beyond me, and I hope they realize that many people who actually bought or are planning on buying the PlayBook would appreciate more diversity in the family and friends they are capable of talking to.
I guess I'll be waiting for Skype to cure this itch of mine.