RIM Reportedly Testing Tablet To Rival iPad

A BlackBerry tablet? It may happen. RIM has already proven that they aren't afraid of venturing into a world dominated by touch panels, as we have seen with the Storm and Storm2 smartphones. And while the company's bread and butter is definitely QWERTY-equipped business phones, no one is saying they can't expand their horizons a bit.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, they may in fact be ready to expand. Sources are saying that RIM is "testing a touch-screen smartphone with a slide-out keyboard," which will run a "new version of the BlackBerry operating system" (we're guessing BlackBerry OS 6) and will "work much like an iPhone." The tablet would allow users to "swipe through screens and expand images with their fingers," and it has a "universal search bar that lets users scour all the phone's data and some data online as well."

But creating a rival to the iPad isn't all that RIM's working on; these same sources suggest that the company may be working on "a tablet device to serve as a larger-screen companion to its BlackBerry phone," and that one will certainly have 3G connectivity and may end up on sale before the end of 2010. RIM is obviously not responding to rumors, but rarely does the WSJ play around with such matters.

A new device coupled with the launch of a new OS seems like a great move; the iPad shipped just a few months before iOS 4, so RIM may decide to do one better and actually ship a new tablet or two with an all-new OS. BlackBerry has faded somewhat in popularity (in terms of sheer buzz) at the hands of iPhone and Android--this might be the device that brings 'em back in a big, big way.