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Extend the Reach of the BlackBerry PlayBook Browser

The browser included in the svelte little BlackBerry PlayBook is a heavy-duty full-featured utility. It includes many of the advanced features recently introduced into browsers for personal computers. The following features are worth noting and mastering.

Capture a web link with the PlayBook browser

Capture a web link for a story or item you find online. Simply press and hold your finger against the item. A pop-up appears, offering the following choices:

  • Open Link. Opens the link for the item you have selected.

  • Open Link in New Tab. Isolates the item and opens it in a new tab within the browser.

  • Copy Link. Puts the link into the tablet’s memory; you can paste it into an e-mail or a document.

  • Save Link As. Saves the details of the link on your PlayBook or on a BlackBerry smartphone (attached through the BlackBerry Bridge).

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Take care not to appropriate someone else’s copyrighted photos or art without permission. In general, you can make copies for your own use but not for republication or resale unless you have permission.

Capture an image with the PlayBook browser

Capture an image you find online this way: Press and hold your finger against the item. A pop-up appears on the screen, offering the following choices:

  • Save Image. The PlayBook will save a copy of the file in its own memory or on a BlackBerry smartphone (connected via BlackBerry Bridge). You can change the filename, but the file type will be set as a compressed JPEG with a .jpg extension.

  • Copy Image Link. Record the details of the image location to the PlayBook’s memory. You can paste that link into an e-mail, a word processing document, or other file.

  • View Image. Displays the image by itself without surrounding text and other items.

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Send an e-mail with the PlayBook browser

Send an e-mail to an address you find in the browser by pressing and holding your finger on a web address. (It will look like someone@somewhere.com or similar.) The PlayBook will automatically open the e-mail client on a BlackBerry smartphone that’s linked through BlackBerry Bridge.

Research in Motion is expected to introduce its own native e-mail client to run on the BlackBerry PlayBook. When that occurs, some of the functions (including sending e-mails and links from the browser) won’t need BlackBerry Bridge if a WiFi or cellular signal can be used instead.

Tap into built-in web links with the PlayBook browser

The PlayBook comes with a set of predefined apps, complete with a pretty icon, that take you directly from the home page (or your favorites section) to one of several popular Internet sites: social networks, web-based e-mail, and a hugely popular video collection. In the initial release, the companies with this sort of arrangement include YouTube, Gmail (from Google), Hotmail (part of the Windows Live package from Microsoft), Twitter, AOL Mail, and Yahoo Mail.

Tapping any of the predefined icons will take you directly to a site’s front page or its sign-in page, without having to first load the browser.

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The direct YouTube link takes you to a mobile version. Your first visit shows the featured selection, which often includes paid advertising; tap Top Rated, Most Viewed, or Recent Videos to see (usually) amateur videos that have gone viral. You can tap the magnifying glass icon in the lower-left corner of the YouTube page to search for videos on a topic of your choice.

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Once you find a YouTube video you want to explore, either tap it to see it in a small window on your BlackBerry PlayBook, or double-tap it to have it fill the screen.

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