RIM Readies Tablet, Plans to Ditch BlackBerry OS

Research In Motion (RIM) is almost ready to unveil a new tablet device to compete with Apple’s iPad, along with a new operating system to drive the device. The Wall Street Journal reported that not only will RIM use an OS developed by QNX Software Systems, which was purchased by RIM earlier in 2010, for the tablet, the company plans on transitioning the entire BlackBerry smartphone to the same OS.

RIM could unveil the device as early as next week, and that it will ship during the last quarter of 2010. The device is being called a “BlackPad” internally, a name that suggests the company sees the device as the BlackBerry answer to Apple’s iPad.

It will feature a 7” display, and either one or two cameras. It will come with Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities, but The Journal’s sources said that it will only be able to connect to cellular networks through a BlackBerry smartphone.

The move to first use the OS developed by QNX on a tablet allows RIM to test the waters without upsetting its existing customer base of BlackBerry users. While RIM has lost market share to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms, many BlackBerry users are fiercely loyal to their devices, especially those who use them in an Enterprise setting, even while RIM has faced criticism from other sources that BlackBerry OS is outdated and slow.