BlackBerry set to unveil tablet computer

BlackBerry maker RIM is expected to unveil its BlackPad tablet computer Monday.

Last Updated: Sep 22, 2010, 12:33 PM IST

Toronto: Though BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) is keeping mum, the Canadian company is expected to unveil its BlackPad tablet computer to rival Apple`s iPad Monday, according to media reports in North America.

The announcement is likely to be made at its developer`s conference in San Francisco.

Quoting people familiar with RIM`s plans, the Wall Street Journal also confirmed Tuesday that the BlackPad is being launched Monday. The tablet will feature a seven-inch touch screen and one or two built-in cameras, the paper said.

It will also have Bluetooth and broadband connections but will only be able to connect to cellular networks through a BlackBerry smartphone. The tablet won`t be sold with a cellular service, leaving unclear which carriers or retailers will sell the device, the journal reported, quoting people familiar with RIM`s plans.

As reported earlier, the BlackPad will not operate on the newly launched BlackBerry 6 operating system launched in August, but on a new platform built by QNX Software Systems.

The BlackBerry maker had acquired Ottawa-based QNX Software Systems for $200 million in April to have exclusive access to its software technology for its tablet.

QNX Software Systems is a unique company as its technology powers the six-wheeled unmanned Crusher combat vehicle of the US Army as well as the music, media and navigation systems in cars from BMW and Porsche.

By buying QNX Software Systems, RIM has also brought on board independent software developers who develop applications exclusively for QNX. Since RIM is way behind Apple in offering applications on its devices, QNX`s technology is a major boost for the Canadian wireless giant.

All future devices from RIM will operate on the QNX operating system, rather than its current operating systems, including BlackBerry 6, which have been termed slow.

The BlackPad tablet is being manufactured by Quanta Computer Inc. of Taiwan, and will run on chips from California`s Marvell Technology Group Inc., the journal reported, quoting people familar with the the tablet`s manufacturing.

The tablet will be another attempt by RIM to catch up with its rivals as it has been fast losing its market dominance in the smart phone market to Apple`s iPad and Google Android devices.

Though theWaterloo-based Canadian company has posted a record growth in the second quarter and reported high sales of the latest BlackBerry Torch 9800, Apple`s iPhone is making big inroads into its corporate and business client base.

Compounding its problems, the BlackBerry maker also faces ban in some big markets, including India, which are seeking access to its secure encrypted emails for security reasons.

IANS