BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is testing a tablet that could act as a “companion” to its BlackBerry phone, says the Wall Street Journal.
The BlackBerry tablet is reportedly in the early stage of development and will tether to the the phone. Last month, the Boy Genius Report web site said the BlackBerry tablet is likely to have an 8.9-inch screen and include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
Since Apple introduced the iPad in April, other PC and smartphone makers have announced that they are working on tablets of their own. In less than 60 days since the iPad was launched, Apple said it sold more than 2 million of them.
Earlier this month, Dell announced it will introduce a tablet called ‘Streak’ that will have a 5-inch display and run Google’s Android operating system. The Streak also has a SIM card so users can make calls with it. The device is currently available in the U.K. now and is expected to launch in the U.S. next month for $500. HP is also working on a tablet computer called the HP Slate.
RIM hopes to introduce its tablet to complement its BlackBerry phones. The move evokes Palm’s failed experiment with the Foleo. In 2007, Palm announced the Foleo as a companion device to its Treo phone. The Foleo priced at $500 would sync wirelessly to Treo phones. But, after much criticism, Palm cancelled the device even before it could make it to retail shelves.
RIM’s tablet might be better received. A tablet could help RIM compete better with the latest generation of smartphones. Except for the BlackBerry Storm, RIM hasn’t released any smartphones with touchscreens. A tablet could help bridge the gap between its keyboard-focused phones and the fast growing market for touchscreen devices.