Bloomberg reports that RIM, makers of Blackberry brand smartphones, is looking to enter the tablet market. Allegedly called the BlackPad (what are they thinking?), RIM hopes to force Apple into a corner and neutralize their home field advantage.
Bloomberg explains that the "BlackPad" should be approximately the same size as the 9.7 inch iPad, while also having Bluetooth and WiFi. The device itself will not be 3G compatible but will instead tether to the user's already purchased Blackberry device.
In the first 80 days of sales, Apple managed to push 3 million iPads, and RIM, along with others, are looking to steal some of the tasty tablet cake. HP, Dell, et al, have all come to the realization that waiting for the 2nd Generation iPad is a suicide move as Apple will have completely saturated the market by then.
The sources providing information refused to pass on their identity as the device has not yet been publicly announced. Marisa Conway of RIM has also refused to comment, stating public policy on unofficial rumours. According to a whois, RIM has registered the domain "www.blackpad.com" which lends credence to the oddly named, yet as-so-far unannounced device.
Due to Apple's dominance of the tablet market, RIM may have quite the battle ahead. Starting with a $499 price point, the vendor will also have to meet or exceed the iPad's current featureset to have any hope of swaying the market to switch. RIM is most likely hoping to ride the iPad wave and pick-up loyal Blackberry users along the way. Another hindrance is the lack of Blackberry Apps. While the App Store currently distributes more than 225,000 apps, RIM can only attest to 6,000 -- a sizable difference.
RIM is currently playing catch-up with the majority of other smartphone vendors as they have yet to release a touchscreen with capabilities that are on par or exceed those of the iPhone. Although traditionally focused on the business market, RIM is allegedly integrating new social features into their tablet device that can be used at home or at work. With front and rear facing cameras, tethering and hopefully a useable touchscreen, RIM may have a solidly competitive device on their hands.
Hopefully the BlackPad is not wrapped in cotton and sold in boxes of twelve, otherwise we might have a Tampax suit on our hands.