THE MAKERS OF the BlackBerry smartphone are reportedly planning to launch a new tablet PC in November that will be in direct competition with the iPad.
Research In Motion (RIM) is said to be planning a touch-screen device with a 9.7″ screen, the same size as that of Apple’s product. Crucially, however, the device will include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth options – which will allow users to access the internet through their existing BlackBerry smartphones.
iPad users wishing to use online services are currently required to either be within range of a Wi-Fi network, if they bought a Wi-Fi only model, or to buy a more expensive model featuring 3G capabilities which requires its own dedicated SIM card.
RIM have bought the rights to the BlackPad.com domain name, indicating that they may intend to also name their device similarly to Apple’s product.
It’s easy to understand RIM’s eagerness to make inroads in the tablet computer market, with Apple selling 3 million iPads within 80 days of the product’s launch.
Bloomberg quotes one analyst as saying RIM “can’t wait for a second generation of devices from Apple or they’ll fall too far behind.”
It is expected that pricing for the device will be broadly in line with that of the iPad – though significantly, as it wouldn’t be sold with a SIM card, the device could be made available through a wider variety of retail outlets.
The iPad is currently only available in its Wi-Fi only incarnations from Apple itself or selected resellers, but a BlackPad could be more widely available in high street electronics shops.
We assume, however, that the device would be barred in the United Arab Emirates.