Rumors have it that Research in Motion will release a BlackBerry tablet that will be competitive with the Apple iPad The device, rumored as the BlackPad or Cobalt, will sport a 8.9-inch screen to make it slightly smaller and thinner than the Apple device.
After the iPhone was launched, RIM was caught off-guard by the touchscreen market, which hadn’t done as well prior due to a lack of a compelling UI with resistive screen technologies. RIM eventually released the BlackBerry Storm to some mixed reviews and addressed many of the shortcomings of the original Storm with a subsequent Storm2 release. Those devices utilize a moveable click screen to mimic pressing on a real key and have attracted polarizing audiences who either love the technology or hate it. It will be interesting to see if RIM will still utilize its SurePress click screen technology in the BlackPad.
For now, the BlackPad is just a rumored device that has been talked about by a “a connect.” As smartphone and computer makers chase after the emerging and elusive tablet market, we’ll have to wait and see how RIM reacts. Other device makers are already working on Android tablets and HP, after its acquisition of Palm, had announced that it is looking into how webOS may influence its own tablet market. HP also killed off its Windows-based Slate tablet. Reportedly, if a BlackPad does materialize, it won’t be before 2011.