RIM Prepares New Tablet, OS 6 and Touch Screen Phone for Release

Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) is preparing a new line of touch screen smartphones and a tablet device that could be released by the end of the year, according to the Wall Street Journal. Since the recent launch of Apple’s iPad tablet device, RIM has been anxious to compete and stem the flood of users who have flocked away from their BlackBerry smartphone line and have instead begun using Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices. BlackBerry OS 6.0 will be coming by September 30th and the new phone should be out around then. 

The new phone—which is currently being tested to get the bugs out before release—has a slide out keyboard to compliment its touch screen features and the operating system that it runs on seems to have taken a few pages from Apple’s iPhone playbook. Icons for frequently used applications can be placed on the home screen and users can scroll to separate pages by flicking the screen sideways. A search bar is also now on the home screen, and it allows you to search the phone for apps, emails, contacts, etc. While these features have been taken for grant for years now on the iPhone, they mark a change for RIM. Users want ease of use and accessibility and not quickly incorporating rivals’ innovative new features is simply no longer acceptable. 

Okay, now let’s talk about the new tablet. While the specifics are being kept very quiet, the new device apparently connects to the network via a connected BlackBerry in a sort of tethered configuration. It is reportedly lighter and thinner than the iPad (which would make sense if it doesn’t have its own 3G radio) and is codenamed the “BlackPad.” While no one is yet sure of the device’s final production specs, several industry insiders have already noted that RIM has started buying 8.9” displays from supplier Hon Hai. 

Of course, the screen purchases could also be linked to RIM’s recent acquisition of QNX Software Systems (a developer of software for car systems). Co-CEO of RIM, Mike Lazaridis has been quoted as saying, “RIM is excited about the planned acquisition of QNX Software Systems and we look forward to ongoing collaboration between Harman, QNX and RIM to further integrate and enhance the user experience between smartphones and in-vehicle audio and infotainment systems.” We might be looking at RIM releasing a new line of touch screen smartphones, intelligent GPS/computers/media players for use in cars and a tablet all by sometime next year. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.