June 16, 2010

RIM Developing Tablet Device, Touchscreen Smartphone

Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM) is developing a touchscreen smartphone and a tablet device to keep up with rival devices such as Apple Inc.'s iPhone and iPad, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

RIM's smartphone will feature a slide-out keyboard, while its tablet device will serve as a larger-screen companion to the company's highly popular BlackBerry smartphone, said the Journal, citing sources "familiar with the device."

The move by Waterloo, Canada-based RIM is designed to prevent the BlackBerry smartphone from losing more market share to Apple's iPhone and iPad, and to mobile devices running Google's Android operating system, the newspaper said.

RIM's smartphone will run on a new version of the BlackBerry operating system, and will operate much like an iPhone, the newspaper said.  It will include four gigabytes of storage space, a five-megapixel camera and a Qwerty keyboard that slides out from the bottom of the touchscreen. Users will also be able to type on a virtual keyboard.

The tablet device is in the early stages of development and could become available by year's end.

It will utilize cellular networks via a BlackBerry.

RIM currently makes a touchscreen smartphone called the Blackberry Storm.  However, the phone has fallen short of the widespread popularity of Apple Inc.'s iPhone, whose latest version, the iPhone 4, becomes available June 24.

RIM has also lagged behind Apple in applications, or mini-programs developed to run on smartphones.  Apple currently offers more than 225,000 applications in its online App Store, compared with just 7,000 applications offered by RIM.


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