BlackBerry Tablet, Amazon Music App for RIM Smartphones Could be Unveiled Next Week
RIM could show off a new BlackBerry tablet, along with an Amazon.com music app for BlackBerry smartphones, next week in Calif.
By Al Sacco
Managing Editor, CIO
BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) could unveil its rumored BlackBerry tablet—BlackPad, SurfBook, BlackTab, whatever it’ll be called—as early as next week, at the company’s third annual BlackBerry Developer Conference (DevCon) in San Francisco, according to a Wall Street Journal report. RIM may also pull the wraps off a new Amazon music application and associated service for BlackBerry, which would help the company cater to multimedia-hungry consumers.
Speculation related to RIM’s BlackBerry tablet has been circulation on the Web for months, and RIM would likely want to get such a product out the door in time for the upcoming holiday season, so the timing of a tablet announcement sounds about right to me. RIM wouldn’t likely release the device for a at least a few more weeks, but showing it off to BlackBerry developers and other RIM smartphone enthusiasts would be a good way to build buzz.
Even more interesting than the news of a possible BlackBerry tablet announcement, is the suggestion that the Tablet will run an entirely new mobile operating system (OS); RIM will reportedly skip its current BlackBerry OS for a new OS built by QNX, a company recently acquired by the BlackBerry-maker that builds various OS software for all kinds of gadgets and products, namely automobiles—and that QNX OS, or some version thereof, will eventually find its way to BlackBerry smartphones, as well, according to the report.
That’s big news for RIM and its BlackBerry-toting customers, if it pans out, since the BlackBerry OS has been a pain point for RIM in recent days. The OS, which was initially built with enterprise security in mind and not for consumers, is seen by many gadget geeks as slightly long-in-the-tooth and in need of a drastic revamp. Putting brand new QNX software on RIM handhelds could do just that.
The BlackBerry tablet is thought to be a “smartphone companion” device in that it won’t likely pack its own cellular radio; it’ll have to connect to a BlackBerry—or perhaps other cellular devices—before it can connect to cellular networks. The BlackBerry tablet supposedly sports a 7-inch touch screen and up to two built-in camera units. It should also have both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios.
A new Amazon music application is also expected, according to the Journal, and such an application could serve as an iTunes Store of sorts for the BlackBerry, which is increasingly competing with consumer-oriented devices like Apple’s iPhone and Google Android handhelds. BlackBerry-compatible music stores and application already exist, including 7Digital, but none have the name recognition of Amazon.com.
The BlackBerry tablet and new Amazon app, if announced as expected next week, would come at a time when RIM’s trying to maintain its stronghold in the smartphone market, while companies like Apple, Google, Palm and Microsoft are dedicating more and more time and resources to stealing away users from RIM.
The announcements are expected to be made at RIM’s DevCon, which is being held in San Francisco starting on Monday, September 27 and lasting through Thursday September 30.
It’s hard to predict how such a BlackBerry tablet would be received in the market, but it will undoubtedly be compared to Apple’s uber-popular iPad, even though it sounds like RIM might be targeting a slightly more business-oriented audience.
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.