How RIM Spoiled my first day with a Playbook

Mike Halsey MVP
Feb 4, 2012
Updated • Feb 5, 2012

I received a new Blackberry Playbook 16Gb tablet today, actually it's not completely new as it's two weeks old and was owned by a family member who bought it because prices had been discounted recently here in the UK.  She liked it so much that she decided she'd rather have the 64Gb one and bought that, giving me her 'old' tablet as she felt I was perhaps spending too much time with Windows (on this I did point out I didn't own an iMac but this was just met with a "nice try" comment).

I was excited about its arrival today.  I already own an HP TouchPad that I picked up in last year's fire sale and I love WebOS.  It is an extremely friendly and usable OS but, alas, sometimes the 10 inch form factor is a little large and the TouchPad weighs more than its equivalent iPad.  I was looking forward then to trying a dinky 7 inch Playbook and when it arrived I opened the packaging with scant regard for reusing it sometime.

When I turned it on I found that it was still logged-in with the user account of my relative, complete with her settings and possibly even credit-card details for the marketplace.  I decided then to start from scratch and reset the device.  Now you might ordinarily expect a "factory reset" to restore a computer to the point it was at when it left the factory, yes?  On any other device, for example my TouchPad or an iPad, an iPhone, my Windows Phone or any Android tablet a reset would set the machine up for you as you would see it when it was first unboxed, complete with apps for the camera, mapping, photos, music, videos, possibly file management, a few games and of course a web browser.

All I can say is that when I had finished the reset and had created a new Blackberry ID for myself the web browser was there.  I was very alarmed at this point to discover that everything else had been deleted, including all of the apps that you might consider "default" and a part of the operating system.  You can see this in the screenshot above (which I was fortunately able to take despite the camera app being absent).

After a mild panic I hit the Blackberry forums to search for an answer.  Here I discovered a great many people having problems at the same time with, usually new, Playbooks.  A phone call to the support department (at least Blackberry have actual Human beings answering a phone which is an absolute blessing) confirmed my fears, that the company was having yet another server outage, this time to the update servers, following a botched maintenance operation.

The support person informed me that the default apps weren't on the flash memory in the device, but were instead loaded upon a reset from the Blackberry OS and software update server, which was down, and that as a result I'd been given a corrupt version of the operating system and would have to wait until the servers were repaired and try the whole operation again.

Currently the Playbook is sitting on my desk, switched off as it's not quite heavy enough to be used as a doorstop.  These server outages at RIM are regularly reported and the achilles heel of the company's desire to direct all traffic through it's own closed and secure servers.  The last time there was a Blackberry outage it lasted for several days and affected every country worldwide.  On my very first day with any Blackberry device, here was the evil gremlin laughing back at me.

I'm not saying this isn't a reason to jump back to my TouchPad, I've not turned it on today.  This is a major problem affecting RIM however and its one that is causing them significant problems with lost market share as the 21st century progresses.  I can live without my Playbook for a few more days, frustrating as it might be, but for RIM to survive in the long-term, server outages such as this one simply must be the exception instead of the rule.


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  1. Nath Alpha said on November 14, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Hi I got a playbook and wipe off to restart the device at fresh. To my surprise I have only Browser and set up app. Nothing again. No camera, calendar, calculator no inbuilt app at all. Now it’s useless. Please help me find a way to fix it.
    I wanna send it to my mum.

  2. tjf7 said on August 5, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Recently purchased the playbook and from i got it to its current time it has been unusable due to the rim servers being down. (so ive been told anyway)
    Playbook was purchased friday and the initial set up was fine until it came to the update which is a complete no go atm. Codes such as 2011 meaning Abnormal exception happened on the server.
    3000 – internal issues and 2032 – unknown keep getting thrown in my face.
    im not ready to throw in the towel but a couple more days of it just being a brick rather than the more anticipated playbook i wanted may force me to go elsewhere.

    If anyone knows of anyway to keep up to date with how the servers are running please let me know !!

  3. Andy said on March 25, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Justice007 Dont be a Playbook fanboy, i needed to a factory restore and did the secure wipe like RIM told me and now i have a playbook with half the original features missing, ive no wallpapers at all, most of the preloaded apps that Blackberry provide and cant be downloaded from the App Store.

    im fuming but ill have to live with until a new update becomes available because even the trick of trying to reinstall OS2.0 doesnt work :(

    The software on these playbooks is pathetic and must be of been tested by monkeys,.

    Cant share pics or files with anyone unless you attach to an email.
    Cant reply or post comments in Youtube unless youre on the website.
    Cant play videos that have audio encoded in AC3
    Cant stream films from your pc.
    No widgets.
    No full Facebook apps
    No Twitter App ( dont even try to mention the Universal inbox shite)
    No Messenger App

    There is loads of Gadgets and phones and pc’s in my house all linked together all working together sharing all diffrent makes from Apple, windows, Android and then theres my Playbook which is completly isolated, its ridiculous, RIM need to look at everyone elses tablets and phones and realise what makes them popular and great to use.

    as much as i hate the software the hardware is fantastic.

    one Frustrated Playbook user !!!!!

  4. wiggliwoo said on February 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Afraid the original story is true.

    Had do do the security wipe on Sat morning due to the bridge issue, where the message app gets stuck in a loop. Rebooted using the same Blackberry id and my playbook only had the bridge apps appear.

    Not even the browser or set up icons were there and the blackberry bridge would connect, but the apps would still not work.

    Has been 2 days now without my Playbook while PC world sort out the problem.

    1. Justice007 said on February 6, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      Restore your iphone or ipad and see what happen when you boot it up. All the apps you downloaded will be gone and so will your contacts etc. You will then restore your iphone or ipad from the backup. Now tell us how what happens when you do a security wipe on the playbook is fundamentally different than what happen in the case of the playbook. If once in a while you will take a free minutes to read some instructions you will not be on here showing your ignorance.

  5. ilev said on February 6, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Wonder how much your family member has paid for the Playbook.

    During the holiday season the price for a Playbook Tablet was just $199 for the cheapest model. In January RIM changed its strategy and priced all of its Playbooks $299 no matter what the hard drive storage number war.

    Now RIM is changing this up once again with a new sale that will last until at least February 11. The Blackberry online store has the Playbook’s 16 GB version priced down once again to $199. The 32 GB version is now down to $249 and the 64 GB version keeps its earlier $299 price tag.

    1. ilev said on February 6, 2012 at 9:35 am

      According to an article in the New York Times, RIM is going the way of the DODO, Palm,
      Polaroid, Atari, Walkman…..

      1. Justice007 said on February 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm

        So even though the entire article is bogus, you have chosen to pile on RIM. Given that Rim is so bad and you have the expertise to see it, why don’t you tell us of all the successful companies you have started and ran.

  6. loc5 said on February 6, 2012 at 12:00 am

    When was the update server down? I was busy doing the same thing, didn’t notice. How long did the servers were down?

  7. ZaraRomms said on February 5, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Gonna have to agree with Justice 007…
    U obviously aren’t a. Customer of blackberry which offer secure services in order to make that ur info is secured. I think your lying……

  8. Justice007 said on February 5, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    The claim of the sever being down is questionable. Given the picture shown, that is what happen if you do a security wipe on the playbook and change the password and user name on it during the process of rebooting. It is a feature built in to ensure that I’d your playbook is stolen that your personal info is protected. You are suppose to back up your playbook before the security wipe. After the security wipe, you then restore the playbook from the back up. I really have my doubts about the claims in this article. I think there is a deliberate attempt to lie here.

  9. Anonymous said on February 5, 2012 at 9:57 am

    One would think that after the mail server outage they recently had that gained them such dubious notoriety, they would hire a server/network admin that knows what he’s doing, AND that they would create some redundancy that would mitigate their server outages. RIM is starting to look like a bunch of clowns, from the server room to the head office.

  10. Grissino said on February 5, 2012 at 7:11 am

    Well, they are a big company, they should garantee a good service. If not, I think the market will move itself to another brand.

  11. boris said on February 5, 2012 at 3:53 am

    RIM is famous for screwups. Their main problem is to do everything themselves without having competency of Google, Apple or Microsoft(to a degree).

  12. Vincent said on February 5, 2012 at 12:33 am

    I had a quick go at the Playbook last week when helping a client connecting to enterprise networks. Didn’t like it very much as for some reason it works with one network but not the other (both network had pretty much the same settings).

    I personally prefer the HP TouchPad, although it needs an addon from Preware to get through proxy server, connecting to WPA2-Enterprise networks was so easy and smooth (literally username, password and a click).

  13. Robert Palmar said on February 5, 2012 at 12:12 am

    Well that sounds like a fascinating and maddening experience.
    After its breathtaking loss in market share one should think
    they have to make the PlayBook work to remain viable.
    If they keep this up RIM should be renamed RIP.

    1. christian said on August 29, 2014 at 3:37 pm

      i cant find my browser after wiping to set up my blackberry ID place i need help

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