Speculation Grows Over RIM “BlackPad”

Stuart Freen is a JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School

Waterloo-based mobile phone company Research In Motion may be set to reveal a new Blackberry-branded tablet PC at its developer conference next week. Market watchers predict that RIM will unveil a 7-inch touchscreen device tentatively called the “BlackPad”, which would go on sale in time for holidays or early next year. Such a device would mark RIM’s first entry into the hot tablet PC market and directly compete with the über-popular Apple iPad.

RIM is known for making Blackberry smartphones targeted at enterprise and government markets. Although the company has produced touchscreen smartphones in the past – first with the Blackberry Storm, and more recently with the Blackberry Torch – they have been criticized for not being as consumer-friendly as the Apple with the iPhone and iPad. Analysts suggest that in order to compete with the iPad RIM will need to introduce an improved user interface and work on enticing third-party software developers to create apps for the platform.