First Look: The Blackberry TABLET

Research In Motion, Canadian maker of BlackBerrys, is rumoured to be working on a rival to the iPad, dubbed the BlackPad by tech watchers.

big thanks to @jenny_oreilly for showing me it

The device is scheduled for launch in November, according to reports, and will be roughly the same size as Apple’s device. RIM has already acquired the rights to the internet domain.

Users will be able to connect their BlackPad to the internet using the wireless connection of their mobile phone, rather than having to pay separately for 3G network access as users of the iPad must.

The introduction of the iPad, which hit UK stores in May, has reinvigorated the market for so-called tablet computers. In its recent results, Apple said it has sold 3.27m worldwide. But Steve Jobs’ Californian design empire is unlikely to have the market all to itself for long.

Several computer manufacturers are planning tablet devices based on Google’s rival Android software, which is already gaining a major foothold in the mobile phone market.

Samsung is expected to launch the Galaxy tablet before the end of next month while LG plans to introduce one under its Optimus brand by Christmas.

Separately, RIM will tomorrow launch its latest attempt to produce a viable alternative to the iPhone. The BlackBerry 9800 has both a touchscreen and a slide-out qwerty keyboard.

RIM hopes it will be a viable alternative to both the new iPhone 4 and the plethora of devices being launched this year that use Android. Its previous forays into the world of touchscreens, with the BlackBerry Storm and Storm 2, met with mixed success.

RIM has seen its share of the smartphone market dip as a result of fierce competition not just from the iPhone 4 but from Android devices such as the HTC Desire and Droid Incredible. In the first quarter of the year – which did not include the new iPhone – RIM had a 19.4% share of global shipments, down from 20.9% a year earlier, according to research house IDC. Apple claimed 16.1% of the smartphone market, up from 10.9% a year earlier.

In the UK alone, sales of Android phones have risen by more than 300% from the beginning of the year, with one in 10 contract handsets sold in the UK now running Google’s mobile operating system, according to figures from retail watcher GfK.

[the Guardian]

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