Two “people familiar with the company’s plans” say RIM’s planning to launch their BlackBerry tablet, recently outed as the BlackPad, in November 2010. Previous estimates put a release in that ballpark, so it seems likely enough. The source also confirms the initial speculation that the device would connect to a BlackBerry smartphone via Bluetooth for a mobile internet connection, but can otherwise cruise on Wi-Fi. No update on the size, but we’re still waffling between 8.9″ and 7″. I’m still not sold on the BlackPad name (which the source also confirms), but maybe it’ll grow on me.
So RIM’s really going ahead with a smartphone companion, eh? If Apple more or less has the tablet multimedia and apps business locked-down with the iPad, what kind of counterpoint will BlackBerry offer? Outstanding native document viewing would be a nice bone to throw the suits, and video conferencing capabilities could let RIM piggyback on the attention FaceTime is earning the technology, while providing it in a form factor that Apple doesn’t. If RIM wanted to throw some punches in multimedia, some DLNA connectivity or an HDMI-out port would give BlackBerry some fightin’ juice, and word has it the thing will support Flash for some decent web browsing. I’m curious to see if they’ll use SurePress, or maybe let you input text via BlackBerry.
Competition on the tablet front is quickly growing – Samsung’s Tab will be championing Android in the tablet arena, while HP polishes off the Slate and moves forward with putting webOS onto a tablet, and of course Apple’s iPad only becomes more entrenched by the day.
What do you guys think – will RIM put up a good fight in this burgeoning market? Or will the early movers in the tablet space soak up all the attention?
P.S.: Before you get too excited, that pic’s a mockup using the HP Slate as a source.