RIM to release iPad competitor, needs to work on product branding

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.

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27 Comments

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I think they need to avoid the word pad. It is not so much an issue of (insert joke here), but rather they need to be different. My first thought was blueberry, but I have no idea where that came from. I think a better name would be would be Black Sapphire, Black Slate, Black Slant or Blackbird. Better yet, stick with Blackberry and just call it Blackberry XYZ.

If I had to pick a name it would be either the RIM Blackbird or RIM Prometheus. Then again, I would not think of launching a device like this without 3g (or maybe 4g).

No 3G?? Considering that's the most popular iPad, it's clear that people want the ability to access the Internet almost everywhere. Tethering is cool but it really should have 3G.

saxondale. said,
No 3G?? Considering that's the most popular iPad, it's clear that people want the ability to access the Internet almost everywhere. Tethering is cool but it really should have 3G.

But I have a cell phone with 3G in my pocket already, why would I want to pay for another internet plan? That's just dumb and wasteful. Tethering is smart.

andrewbares said,

But I have a cell phone with 3G in my pocket already, why would I want to pay for another internet plan? That's just dumb and wasteful. Tethering is smart.


But you HAVE to have a blackberry.

saxondale. said,

But you HAVE to have a blackberry.

Not at all. This Blackpad has WiFi which means you can tether it with any smartphone. I could hook it up to my Touch Pro 2 right now, or someone's HTC Evo, and it would work just the same.

andrewbares said,

Not at all. This Blackpad has WiFi which means you can tether it with any smartphone. I could hook it up to my Touch Pro 2 right now, or someone's HTC Evo, and it would work just the same.


If that's the case, then even better! the article just said "The device itself will not be 3G compatible but will instead tether to the user's already purchased Blackberry device.", which sounds like they must have a blackberry.

If this article is correct then i don't see Apple being forced into a corner. Blackberry need to think carefully before committing to any features (or lack of). This has all the hallmarks of a flop, and its a shame because this is a waste of a good opportunity.

Why is this article so TERRIBLY opinionated???

RIM hopes to force Apple into a corner and neutralize their home field advantage.

Umm, Apple's not even a competitor to worry about. There's soooo much space in the tablet market that no one is fighting anyone. Plus, there's others like the JooJoo tablet, and most importantly of all, the TRUE tablets, Windows 7 ones, the ones that are actually productive, and have existed for over 5 YEARS.

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.

HP already HAS a tablet, what are you smoking?? I'm typing this on my tablet touchscreen Touchsmart TM2 right this minute. They already HAVE the market. You are incredibly brainwashed by Apple, it's shocking. And you're supposed to be a "tech" reporter. Smooth.

Due to Apple's dominance of the tablet market

Enough said. You are terribly biased and can't even report a story without kissing Steve Jobs' butt.

Congrats Brian, you just failed at writing a news article.

andrewbares said,
Why is this article so TERRIBLY opinionated???

Umm, Apple's not even a competitor to worry about. There's soooo much space in the tablet market that no one is fighting anyone. Plus, there's others like the JooJoo tablet, and most importantly of all, the TRUE tablets, Windows 7 ones, the ones that are actually productive, and have existed for over 5 YEARS.

HP already HAS a tablet, what are you smoking?? I'm typing this on my tablet touchscreen Touchsmart TM2 right this minute. They already HAVE the market. You are incredibly brainwashed by Apple, it's shocking. And you're supposed to be a "tech" reporter. Smooth.

Enough said. You are terribly biased and can't even report a story without kissing Steve Jobs' butt.

Congrats Brian, you just failed at writing a news article.

People are actually getting confused between Slates and Tablets... Oh Boy don't know what to say.

Jose_49 said,

People are actually getting confused between Slates and Tablets... Oh Boy don't know what to say.

Yeah that too. The iPad is a Slate. A laptop that has a touchscreen which flips over is a Tablet.

But I gave up caring about that a few months ago, when these news editors failed to make the distinction.

They don't *have* to include "Pad" in the name, just because Apple chose to. Try to be more unique, otherwise you sound just like an imitator, and that's not always the best thing.

Its too early to know for sure but I think the tablet market for the next couple years will be seen as other manufacturers playing catch up to what Apple already has out. All of these competing tablets appear to slated for release just before the holiday season. Good idea but Apple is going to have so much demand for the iPad by then its going to be insane. Not to mention they will be releasing version 2 a few months later. I'd like to see competitors come out with a product that is different. That is where they think the market should be. Because if all they're going to do is compete against Apple on price and some minor hardware differences then they'll lose. Apple has the ecosystem (and cool factor) that consumers are buying into. I just can't see how a BlackBerry tablet will succeed. HP, yes. Dell and Acer, doubt it. BlackBerry, nope.

I hear a lot of talk about HP, Asus and a few others working on a iPad solution. This
should be a easy roll out, but falling short on substance. If anything HP should have
been the first out with a solution close to the iPad, but it took advise from it bean counters
an didn't pony up the money or the resources to make it happen. On the Asus front, they do
have the skill to pull it off. Most likely they are still working on the software end. Most likely
they have the hardware done, it's just waiting for the software and a few custom apps to
get done.

The only other real solution that might take a bite out of Apple is Dell Computer. They have
a 7" Streak coming out by the end of this year. They have a 9" or 10" version coming out in
2011.

I've been waiting for a few months now for someone to come out with a solution to combat
the iPad. I looks like Dell might be the only one coming out this year with a device that might
take a bite out of Apple. On the RIM front, I don't know too much about it. I'm hoping they do
release a killer product. Only time will tell and now it's a waiting game