RIM to challenge iPad with BlackPad

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Blackberry maker RIM is adding its name to the list of challengers to Apple’s iPad.

The company is expected to launch a touchscreen tablet computer in November, which will work closely with the Blackberry smartphone ecosystem and which will be called a BlackPad, according to a report by Bloomberg News.

The device will be of similar size to the iPad, which has sold over 3.3 million units since launching in April. Costing around 500 dollars the Blackpad will feature a 22-centimetre screen and access the Internet via both Wi-Fi and cellular connections, the report said.

Dell is launching its own mini-tablet, The Streak, in the U.S. by the end of the month. On Thursday, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said the company is also working on tablet PC technology, though he gave no timeline for launch.

Also entering the fray is HP, the world’s largest PC maker, which will launch a tablet based on the WebOS operating system it acquired when it bought Palm earlier this year.

Samsung and LG have already announced the launch of tablet computers running Google’s Android operating system later this year, while Motorola is also expected to release an Android tablet in November. First we heard that RIM would make a tablet that would have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and arrive by December. Then we heard that RIM bought the domain Blackpad.com. The latest comes from Bloomberg, which on Friday posted a report citing two anonymous sources saying RIM’s Blackpad is coming by November–and it’s coming to take on Apple’s iPad.

The tablet will be called the Blackpad, according to Bloomberg. Its touch screen will measure 9.7 inches, similar to the iPad, and the price will be “in line” with Apple’s tablet, the cheapest model starting at $499.

As earlier reports said, RIM’s tablet won’t have its own 3G cellular connection, but will rely on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to access the Web. It could be, as implied earlier, that the Blackpad will be a type of companion device for BlackBerry, using Bluetooth to share a BlackBerry’s 3G connection to get on the Web. In that case, the Blackpad is more of a competitor to the iPad model with Wi-Fi only, and not the 3G-ready version.

This looks to be a big fall season for RIM, which is having a high-profile event next Tuesday where it will introduce its latest touch-screen smartphone featuring the newest version of its mobile software.

Though RIM will have a ways to go to catch up to Apple’s 3 million-plus iPads sold since April, RIM is still the leader in the smartphone market in the U.S. It shipped 35 percent of all smartphones in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2010, according to data recently released by Nielsen. Apple is behind RIM with 28 percent of U.S. smartphones, followed by Windows Mobile phones with 19 percent, and Android smartphones with 9 percent.

[Story Source]

This post was submitted by Rishi Maurya.

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