Rumors about a Research In Motion touch-screen tablet are gaining momentum.
First we heard that RIM would make a tablet that would have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and arrive by December. Then we heard that RIM bought the domain Blackpad.com. The latest comes from Bloomberg, which on Friday posted a report citing two anonymous sources saying RIM's Blackpad is coming by November--and it's coming to take on Apple's iPad.
The tablet will be called the Blackpad, according to Bloomberg. Its touch screen will measure 9.7 inches, similar to the iPad, and the price will be "in line" with Apple's tablet, the cheapest model starting at $499.
As earlier reports said, RIM's tablet won't have its own 3G cellular connection, but will rely on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to access the Web. It could be, as implied earlier, that the Blackpad will be a type of companion device for BlackBerry, using Bluetooth to share a BlackBerry's 3G connection to get on the Web. In that case, the Blackpad is more of a competitor to the iPad model with Wi-Fi only, and not the 3G-ready version.
This looks to be a big fall season for RIM, which is having a high-profile event next Tuesday where it will introduce its latest touch-screen smartphone featuring the newest version of its mobile software.
Though RIM will have a ways to go to catch up to Apple's 3 million-plus iPads sold since April, RIM is still the leader in the smartphone market in the U.S. It shipped 35 percent of all smartphones in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2010, according to data recently released by Nielsen. Apple is behind RIM with 28 percent of U.S. smartphones, followed by Windows Mobile phones with 19 percent, and Android smartphones with 9 percent.