Rumors of a BlackBerry tablet are heating up by the day, with Bloomberg now claiming that the BlackPad — yes, the BlackPad — will arrive in November, complete with an iPad-size screen and the ability to connect to the Internet via either Wi-Fi or your Bluetooth-connected BlackBerry.
Citing a pair of anonymous sources “familiar with the company’s plans,” Bloomberg says the tablet will indeed be called the BlackPad (which would presumably explain BlackBerry-maker RIM’s recent acquisition of “BlackPad.com”) and would boast a display that’s “roughly” the same size as the iPad’s 9.7-inch screen.
Rather than having its own, embedded 3G radio, the BlackPad would rely on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth tethering to your BlackBerry to connect to the Internet, Bloomberg’s tipsters claim — a nifty trick. I sure wish I could tether the iPad to my iPhone for 3G data.
The article doesn’t go into detail about what kind of processor would power the rumored BlackPad, or whether it would run on the revamped BlackBerry OS 6 (which seems likely). It did note, however, that the BlackPad’s pricing would be “in line” with that of the iPad, which starts at $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi-only version.
Several details of the Bloomberg story are at odds with what we heard from one wireless analyst earlier this month, who predicted that the BlackBerry tablet would come with built-in Wi-Fi and a smaller, 7-inch display.
Rodman & Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar (who, it must be said, has thrown some wild pitches lately when it comes to tech predictions) also thinks the BlackBerry slate will arrive with a 1GHz processor and dual cameras, including a front-facing lens for video chat.
The Bloomberg story caps months of rumors and speculation about a BlackBerry tablet, which stretch backas early as April and gained traction in June after the Wall Street Journal threw its own anonymously sourced log on the fire.
The latest rumors also come just days before BlackBerry’s planned press event next week. Expected among the surprises: a new touchscreen QWERTY slider powered by the revamped, touch-friendly BlackBerry OS 6.
I admit to being pretty skeptical about the BlackBerry tablet rumors in the early months, but based on the steady buzz, it’s starting to look like the BlackPad — or whatever it ends up being called — could indeed be for real, although RIM still refuses to confirm or deny its existance. If the tablet is real, though, the ability to tether with a BlackBerry for 3G data would be a major selling point.