We’ve heard rumors before about BlackBerry-maker RIM jumping into the tablet space with their own BlackBerry tablet (codenamed BlackPad / Cobalt), and today we’re hearing of an alleged “confirmation” of the slate-style BlackBerry device. But, before you get all excited about seeing your favorite push-emailing platform going the tablet route, we should warn you that this “confirmation” comes “from a connect,” according to BBLeaks. The rumor has RIM working on some sort of slate-style iPad-killer that’s expected to sport an 8.9-inch display that will make the device smaller and thinner than the iPad. Imagine that.
Word on the street has Research In Motion tapping Hon Hai, the famous iPhone component integrators, to assemble the BlackBerry tablet. The Cobalt, or BlackPad, whatever they’re calling this mythical iPad wannabe, will allegedly be compatible with the BlackBerry OS and support many BlackBerry functions. There’s no word on whether it will be powered by the BlackBerry OS, but we’d put our money on the tablet not running the not-so-touch-friendly BlackBerry platform. It’s clear, though, that RIM will preserve BlackBerry’s enterprise features and push email functionality.
What’s confusing about this whole situation is that RIM has gone on record, by way of their CEO, as saying that the tablet market is unclear and that touchscreens aren’t for everyone. Combine that with the fact that the BlackBerry lineup of smartphones has traditionally focused on handsets with physical QWERTY keyboards, and the widely-held notion that the BlackBerry OS isn’t exactly the most compelling or usable touch-optimized operating system, and you’ve got a recipe for contradiction. It’s hard to see a slate-style BlackBerry tablet working well with the BlackBerry OS. If anything, RIM would need to craft a distinct tablet OS that doesn’t feel like the awkward BlackBerry Storm and Storm2.
We’re told to look for an announcement of the BlackPad (Cobalt) sometime in 2011 – likely during the WES 2011 conference. But, again, as these types of rumors go, don’t bet the farm on seeing a BlackBerry tablet launching next year.
Would you buy a BlackBerry tablet? Does the iPad or the plethora of Android tablets expected to launch in the near future have any bearing on your decision to buy a BlackBerry BlackPad?