RIM Gears Up for Tablet Battle

By Cindy Waxer September 22, 2010

Let the games begin. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Research in Motion may introduce a tablet computer next week at the BlackBery Devcon Conference in San Francisco.

The Journal, citing unnamed “RIM insiders,” offers a handful of details of what the table might look like, which is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of this year. Possible features include a 7-inch touchscreen and one or two built-in cameras, the report says. Rather than connect directly to cellular networks, users will have to connect through their BlackBerry devices.

As for its operating system, the much-anticipated device will run new software developed by QNX Software Systems, a company RIM acquired earlier this year, instead of its new BlackBerry 6 operating system. The Journal also says the BlackPad will include Bluetooth connectivity and a “broadband connection,” which probably hints at Wi-Fi connectivity.

Talk of RIM’s tablet comes at a time when competition is stiff for mobile dollars, and Google’s Android is fast gobbling up market share. According to comScore’s latest analysis of the U.S. mobile market, RIM is still the leading mobile smartphone platform, dropping from 42.1 percent to 41.7 percent market share. It’s followed closely by Apple which dropped from 25.4 percent to 24.4 percent and Microsoft which dropped from 15.1 percent to 13.2 percent. 

But while Android ranked fourth on the list, it skyrocketed from 9 percent to 13 percent market share in this same period. Even research firm Gartner estimated BlackBerry’s share of worldwide smartphone sales dropped one percentage point to 18 percent in the second quarter of this year versus the previous as shares of Android and Apple devices rose.

As for today’s tablet wars, the introduction of Apple’s iPad in April prompted competitors including Samsung Electronics, Acer, Cisco Systems and Dell to get to work on their own competing devices, many of which will run Android – giving RIM a run for its money.

Edited by Erin Harrison

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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