Home > BlackBerry, Developers, PlayBook, RIM, Uncategorized > PlayBook – Tech Support – ARRRGH!!

PlayBook – Tech Support – ARRRGH!!

June 17, 2011

The PlayBook is a fine piece of kit … but troubleshooting the unit then becomes a fine piece of S**T.

To be polite .. I’ll just say PlayBook Tech Support SUCKS!

I’ll tell you why!

This has NOTHING TO DO WITH the impeccable professionalism of the representatives – Amanda, Miranda, Richard, or others that worked on case# 23164680. I’ve personally worked as a Helpdesk, customer service & IT Analyst (Deskside) for over 15 years at various locations: Technion, IBM-BNSF, T-Mobile USA, BMO-HarrisBank, BMO-Capital Markets, Kinross Gold Corp, etc etc.

I can assure you the Level of service when speaking with these resp is great BUT … hat I’m about to right has to do directly with RIM, the PlayBook project manager, and the coders internally with RIM and with QNX team that directly worked on/with RIM initially & continually.

The following changes MUST BE DONE to improve with corporate & end user support.


  • Document ALL ERROS & Known PlayBook Issues
    – Case #’s over a 6hr period should be linked internally (by Level 2 or higher) with proper related documents linked to the device issue. RIM does this with BES & BlackBerry smartphones – so why not the PlayBook?! You’ll figure out why this is important soon enough.
  • Allow Firmware to be downloaded as a complete file! YES I know the firmware is encrypted – but we generate encryption keys with BlackBerry with Desktop Manager to match with BES on LAN (“Least Cost Method” – activation), for YEARS … why should this be ANY different?!
    • – Not everyone has an 802.11N DualBand Connection/router.
    • – Not everyone likes to be on Tech Support for 3:09 (3hrs:9minutes) – for straight, especially IT Departments. Keep in mind today it was the second day – second call.
    • – What STUPID CIOs agreed to this WIFI & Download to PC in EACH instance method during pilot testing?! WHO was the moron that figured the country’s local agreement would NEED to be downloaded to the device AFTER the firmware installation!?!! Sure this makes sense to have the latest agreement but agreements do NOT change on the fly – they need corporate and country and license approvals.
    • Which CIO’s where so stupid when presented the PlayBook for testing did NOT ASK about how Firmware Updates work and TRIAL it?!
  • #2 alone saves your reps ime, RIM’s costs on support call times (Considering yesterdays financial quarterly report that lay-offs will occur in the future), and to WebEx sessions to https://rim.webex.com.
  • Log Files within XP/Win7 should be saved – but found out issues with these log files beginning with “loader” may NOT show up on 32-bit systems. Instead my Level 2 RIM tech HAD to have me create a new Registry Entry in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE>SOFTWARE>Research In Motion> and create a new DWORD 32-bit Value called “PBDLL”; then add a new name within called “IsLoggingEnabled” with Decimal = 1.


I’ve tried forever defending RIM against uninformedĀ  analyst hunchs, pundits, and alt-fanboys of another cult alike stating the PlayBook was rushed … well the troubleshooting I’ve done in the past 2 days is definitely in line with those sentiments. I LOVE the PlayBook and it needs to be updated firmware, and firmware offering alternatives and software alike – but I cannot believe that 80% of the 500’000 units shipped in its inaugural quarter are still owned by original users or not been RMA’d.

After all this I’ve finally had RIM conceed to an RMA – we’re not stupid in technical area’s – I was impressed that the registry entry finally allowed a desktop manager forced firmware to SUCCEED – but the WLAN radio STILL failed.

After 3hrs today [Support WebEx Session 644512087) , and previous 2hrs on Thursday I’ve come to this:

2 days total 5hrs, 9mins troubleshooting

5 firmware download attempts using desktop manager – internal REPS don’t trust attempts by Level 1 – this crap in IT the world over NEEDS TO STOP: you’re all employed by the same company respectively work as a team not duplicate or triplicate work; simply assinine and it pisses end users off. Bad experience spreads faster and more powerfully than GOOD news.

Logs on PlayBook:

FRI JUN 17 19:48:26 GMT-0400 2011 -<2>TRYING TO ASSOCIATE WITH

FRI JUN 17 19:48:26 GMT-0400 2011 -<2>ASSOCIATED WITH

FRI JUN 17 19:48:26 GMT-0400 2011 -<2>WPA:KEY NEGOTIATION

FRI JUN 17 19:48:26 GMT-0400 2011 -<2>CTRL-EVENT-CONNECTED-

FRI JUN 17 19:48:49 GMT-0400 2011 -<2>CTRL-EVENT-DISCONNECTED-

This repeat several times. After firmware successfully installed with Richard I got as far as trying to download the Canada ageement and it failed! YES we’re the original purchasers and owners of this PlayBook (corporate purchase).

Desktop Manager v Released June 7th, 2011 (build 34), BlackBerry Device Manager, BBDevMgr, RIM USB Driver, RIM USB Serial Driver 2.2.03, PlayBook RNDIS Driver Interface, Application Loader, Firewalls where disabled during download and installation of PlayBook firmware during troubleshooting along with ports 80 and 441/443 for it to work – corporate internet/intranet wifi links and 2 external non protected wifi hotspots ALL failed to proceed with “Connect to WiFi” screen on PlayBook!! Yes I know the internal wifi links and have setup over 50 laptops properly using the passphrases to them all – NO I cannot reset the routers as this affects 250+ corporate users!

Case in point … if I did 1.5hrs on a iPad with Apple tech support the RMA would already been processed! This is why its WORTH paying a $100 premium on Apple products, this is why Apple is valued more than Microsoft today, this is why Apple is KILLING the tablet market and laughing all the way to the bank! They have a strategy and USE IT INTERNALLY for months BEFORE launch – they quite simply know their SHIT!!

I’m VERY curious if this reflects how RIM needs to do layoffs due to market transitions, poor sales, and poor customer experience for tech support!?

  1. June 20, 2011 at 6:34 AM

    What you said in this article quite true!
    I have one playbook with 1 GHz Cortex-A9 dual-core processor, 32 GB flash and 1 GB RAM. I found it difficult to download firmware as a complete file.
    I hope RIM will look into this issue.


    • Donny
      February 4, 2012 at 11:28 PM

      Doubtful they will ever provide this … as it shows how the OS can be loaded into the boot loader; and THAT would be a security issue for RIM.


  2. JockyW
    September 2, 2011 at 8:35 AM

    I’m on 32-bit XP and tried to enable logging. So I created key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE>SOFTWARE>Research In Motion>PBDLL and in that key I’ve added a DWORD value IsLoggingEnabled with value 1.
    Then I forced an update and was hoping to find log files somewhere. Unfortunately I can’t find them nowhere. Can you post where they can be found? Thanks!


    • Donny
      February 4, 2012 at 11:27 PM

      Log files are NOT downloaded to the PC but within the OS of the tablet.


  3. Cory
    January 28, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    OP, did you receive any resolution eventually? I’ve already spent about 4 hours with this problem, and there’s nothing documented on the net, except for disabling wireless n (my router does not have) or changing to WPA-2 (causes every other device on my network to lose connectivity).

    Thanks in advance,


    • Donny
      February 4, 2012 at 11:31 PM

      I’d probably disable MAC filtering or just make your network an open network for a temporary time period. If you own a mac & time capsule or Airport Extreme then you can create a “guest” network to try connecting the tablet to the internet.

      nothing really documented and I find that a consumer/business customer flaw that will NEVER entice me to purchase another RIM product. Their failing in so many ways beyond sales that if it continues they’ll soon have much less users and very soon after no more finances to continue maintaining their NOC infrastructure.


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