RIM, makers of the business friendly BlackBerry smart phones, may announce the BlackBerry Tablet at the RIM developer’s conference next week. The device, dubbed the BlackPad by insiders, has long been RIM’s rumored attempt at competing with the Apple iPad which has proven extremely popular since it went on sale in April.
The Wall Street Journal reports that sources familiar with the BlackBerry Tablet point to an unveiling of the hardware, which is said to include a 7″ touchscreen and up to two cameras, and the software which is said to be developed by QNX, a break from the recently launched BlackBerry OS 6 which has had issues. The report indicates that the BlackPad will have Bluetooth and broadband connections.
The sources tell the WSJ that the BlackPad, or RIM Tablet if you prefer, will launch yet this year and connect to BlackBerry phones, like the BlackBerry Torch, for internet access instead of requiring a dedicated data plan. This would be welcome news for users who already have a BlackBerry device, but it could put a barrier in place for users who are already on contract for another year with an iPhone or Android device.
Also, while the data connection would be shared, carriers have shown that they love to make a buck and it wouldn’t be surprising to see BlackBerry phone owners charged an additional fee to connect their BlackPad to a BlackBerry for mobile broadband the way tehy do with tethering or WiFi hotspot features.
There is no word on the price for a BlackPad or where it will be available for purchase if there is no additional data contract needed. Hopefully we’ll know more on Monday when the RIM Developer’s Conference kicks off.