RIM(Research In Motion) is reportedly developing a BlackBerry tablet PC, called the BlackPad, which could be unveiled the week of Sept. 27. Third-party vendors are already pledging support for any RIM tablet. RIM has not confirmed such a device, but the Journal’s anonymous sources suggest the BlackPad could debut at an upcoming developers’ conference in San Francisco and go on sale before the end of the year.
The tablet will sport a seven-inch touch screen, up to two cameras, and Bluetooth to connect with headsets and other devices. (The iPad features a 9.7-inch screen, zero cameras – although the iPhone 4 has two – and Bluetooth service.) However, the most interesting aspect is its cellular plan. The Journal says the BlackPad will offer mobile Internet, but only through another BlackBerry smartphone. In other words, you’ll need to already own a BlackBerry to get the most out of a BlackPad.
RIM has refused to comment on the rumors. When contacted by eWEEK about the possibility of a tablet-themed event the week of Sept. 27, a company spokesperson said: “The only RIM event next week is the Developer Conference that runs Monday through Thursday. There will be keynotes from one of the co-CEOs and other C-level execs, and RIM tends to drop news at these types of events.”
In response to the Apple iPad’s massive success, other manufacturers have rushed into the consumer tablet market. Samsung and its carrier partners are preparing to release the 7-inch Galaxy Tab, which includes an enhanced TFT-LCD display with 1,024-by-600 resolution, Android 2.2 operating system, 1GHz processor, 16GB of internal memory scalable to 32GB of external memory, and support for Adobe Flash 10.1. Dell is already marketing the 5-inch Streak, which sells for $299 with an AT&T contract and $549.99 unlocked. And Hewlett-Packard is reportedly preparing tablets to run both its recently acquired Palm WebOS and Windows 7.
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