Every time I get a new BlackBerry® smartphone, the first thing I do is dive into the Options screen so I can learn more about the features offered in addition to specifying my preferred settings. Since I just got a BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet, this is obviously the first thing I did – so today, I’d like to share an overview of the Options screen in case you are curious about what settings are available. I’ve also included links under each section so you can find more info on how to get the most of out of these various features where applicable.
You might be wondering: how do I access the Options menu? To do that, all you need to do is tap the Gear icon that appears in the top right corner of your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet’s home screen. If you aren’t currently on your home screen, you can swipe in from the top-left frame onto the screen, which will show you the status bar which contains the Gear icon.
After tapping the Gear icon, you’ll be presented with a menu similar to the screenshot below that lists the various options you can modify along the left-hand side. You can also access the options while using an application by swiping in from the top-left frame onto the screen.
Simply put, this screen will allow you to review information about your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, such as who the owner is, which OS version you are using, and a media count that lets you know how many songs or videos you have, for example. If you tap the General button in this dialog, you’ll be able to review more information, such as Hardware along with more in-depth OS, Network and Legal information.
Using this screen, you’ll be able to setup a new Wi-Fi connection and review your current Wi-Fi connection setting details as well as being able to perform some basic network troubleshooting. In the screenshot above, if you tap on the Wi-Fi Radio icon with the question mark in front of it that appears along the bottom of the screen, you’ll be able to view additional information about your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet in addition to having access to several network troubleshooting tools.
- Device Information – In addition to the About screen that appears in Options, you can also identify basic information about your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet such as your PIN number.
- Wi-Fi Information – If you are connected to a Wi-Fi network, details about this network can be found here.
- Internet Connection – Within this screen you’ll be able to review network information, such as your IP address and DNS information.
- Logs – Self-explanatory.
- Ping – A PING tool that will allow you to verify network connectivity.
- Traceroute – Similar to PING, this is a simple tool that allows you to trace the path of your current network connection.
- DNS Lookup – This tool will allow you to verify DNS functionality on your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.
This is a simple screen that allows you to quickly check for a new software update. If one is found, you’ll be presented with the ability to download it now, or check again later for a newer update. If you decide to download a system update, all you need to do is open this screen and select Install Now.
To customize your Bluetooth settings, such as the name of your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and whether or not it’s discoverable, this is the menu you’ll want to access. Using this menu, you can also add and remove Bluetooth devices by tapping the small pencil icon that appears on the screen. To learn more about the Bluetooth capabilities offered by the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet – including what kind of Bluetooth devices you can use – check out the BlackBerry® Bridge™ user guide. If you want to learn more about using Bluetooth in general with your BlackBerry smartphone, check out this post about BlackBerry Bluetooth pairing.
If you own a BlackBerry smartphone and have purchased a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, this is where you’ll want to go to start the BlackBerry Bridge setup process. BlackBerry Bridge technology allows you to access your email, calendars, and more on your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. To learn more about setting up BlackBerry Bridge, please review the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet user guide.
The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet includes support for several different Bluetooth profiles such as Dial-up Networking (DUN) which allows you to access the internet connection of a tethered mobile phone, or other internet enabled device.
To use this feature, all you need to do is pair a Bluetooth device that supports DUN with your Playbook tablet. After pairing, setting up internet tethering is as easy as selecting your wireless service provider profile from a list and clicking Connect if your wireless service plan supports internet tethering. Using this feature might result in additional charges so contact your wireless service provider for more information in case you aren’t sure.
For more information on this feature, check out the Help application on your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, or review the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet user guide.
Using the Screen Options menu, you’ll be able to customize what happens to your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet screen when it is running on battery power, or plugged in as per the screenshot below.
One of my favorite BlackBerry PlayBook tablet features is the ability to hook it up to my HDMI-equipped TV at home and watch videos I’ve captured with my family and friends. Using this menu, you’ll be able to customize a lot of settings, so you’ll be able to get the most out of the HDMI connection you are currently using. Some of the settings you can customize include the ability to customize the Aspect Ratio in addition to enabling Mirror Mode. For more information on this feature, review the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet user guide.
Straightforward and to the point, this screen will allow you to change your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet master volume in addition to your Keypress Input and Notifications volume.
Being able to play a game and stream music from an online radio station at the same time is pretty easy thanks to the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet’s multitasking capabilities. The General menu will allow you to toggle the ability to multitask applications on and off, which can help you save battery life in addition to preventing games from playing in the background if you switch applications for a moment. This setting is referred to as the Application Behavior, and you can select from the following options.
- Showcase – All open applications are active and never pause in the background.
- Default – An application stays active in the background until another application goes full screen.
- Paused – All applications are paused in the background and activated when tapped.
You also have the option of enabling Demo Mode, which allows your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to play demo movies automatically when it’s idle and the charger is plugged in.
Storage and Sharing
The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet offers several options for accessing the built-in storage using BlackBerry® Desktop Software, including the ability to use Wi-Fi sharing, which is a really cool feature I absolutely love. This feature allows me to copy files to and from my tablet using the Wi-Fi connection.
In order to get the most out of your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, I would recommend installing BlackBerry Desktop Software, which allows to you quickly synchronize music, photos and videos, in addition to being able to back up your tablet’s information. Don’t forget to review the settings listed in the Network Identification screen, as this information will be used to log in and access your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet using Wi-Fi sharing. For information on installing BlackBerry Desktop Software, see the BlackBerry Desktop Software site.
The security options menu allows you to view information such as Application Permissions, Certificates and any VPN settings. You can also initiate a Device Wipe, which will remove all of your personal information from your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet in the event you are giving it to someone else.
Another important setting here is the ability to set a password on your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet – something I highly recommend, as a password can save you a lot of grief in the event that you misplace your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. You’ll also notice an option to enable Development Mode, which is a setting you should avoid unless you are developing software for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.
For more information on using some of these features including VPN capabilities, check out the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet user guide.
This screen will allow you to quickly customize your keyboard settings, such as whether or not the Keypress Popup is enabled, or specifying which keyboard type you are using. For example, you can use QWERTY, QWERTZ or AZERTY.
Date & Time
From this menu, you’ll be able to change your time zone in addition to using a 24-hour clock. You’ll also have the ability to toggle your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to set the Date & Time automatically using your network connection.
As you can see, getting the most out of your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is easy thanks to the Options menu, which allows you to quickly review your current settings in addition to customizing them to your preference.
What was the first setting you customized when you got your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet? Leave a comment and let me know!