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The BlackBerry Tablet - What We Know And What We Don't

By Bla1ze on 6 May 2010 07:15 am EDT
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The BlackBerry Tablet - What We know And What We Don't
To tablet or not to tablet... that is the question!

Alright, since the issue of the BlackBerry tablet seems to not be going away any time soon, we decided we'd summarize and share what information we know and what information is still left totally up in the air at this point. We certainly do not know all the details here, frankly no one does. Anyone outside of those involved directly with the project are basing information on pure speculation and that is it. Some of that speculation may be accurate, some of it may not. In fact, from what we gather the project's roots reach quite a way back so that many of the details we're hearig now have already likely changed (maybe many times over), so you really have to take anything anyone says with a BIG grain of salt. Yes, we're included in this statement.

Codenames

First, lets clear up the codename issue. Cobalt was definitely one of the names assigned to the project and this name reaches back months and months now. It may or may not have been the first name for it but jetpac.s and Blackpad have now been bounced around across the web as well. In all reality, this idea came long before the announcement of the iPad. So, any statements saying that Research In Motion is just now trying to play catch up to the iPad are pretty much unfounded. That's not saying the release of the iPad hasn't changed how Research In Motion treats this product, cause it surely does.

Target Market

Many people when speaking of the tablet have asked what its target market would be. Business, consumer, both? The details we've heard are that it was/is to be a consumer driven device. More specifically a multimedia tablet. One that will be completely independent from BlackBerry devices. With that focus it's assumed that you would be able to view videos, read eBooks and eMagazines as well as listen to music and read your favorite RSS feeds. Also mentioned in this scenario was the ability to create and edit documents as well as take notes and mark tasks. Nothing too crazy here.... rather things you'd expect a tablet to do.

Who Will Build It?

Lets take a step back just for a second and think about Research In Motions current R&D departments. Right now, we're pretty sure they have all available resources working on new smarpthone devices. Do they really have the resources to dedicate a team to building a tablet based product? Likely not. Could they? Sure, but I'm not so certain RIM would want to do that at the moment when the smartphone battle is raging.

Recently Research In Motion has been picking up acquisitions. DASH, QNX and Viigo have all been brought in. Maybe if RIM really wants to get a tablet product built, its development would be outside their traditional engineering and development cycle? Now while signs lead up to the fact Research In Motion had the tablet in mind long before the QNX acquisition, QNX seems to have the means to produce such a product if Research In Motion wanted them or at the very least have a huge hand in the development but not manufacturing. Think about it. They design middleware, realtime operating systems and specialize in embedded design. If they are the ones Reseach In Motion has in mind for the project, then the pieces all seem to fit. The manufacturing portion has been suggested to of been passed off to Quanta who deal with large contracts from their home base of Taiwan.

The Operating System

The most recent information surrounding the possible operating system here comes to us from The Street. It was mentioned in that article that "The BlackBerry maker had hoped to offer a Google Android-powered tablet later this year" We're not exactly sure where this information came from. Be it from Rodman Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar directly, who was mentioned in the article or if it came from another source. That notion may be exciting to some, but am pretty sure from a RIM perspective would have been crushed immediately the moment someone would have even suggested it.

The idea of Research In Motion using Android to power a BlackBerry product sounds as outlandish as the idea of running the current BlackBerry OS on a tablet does. For a while now we've been hearing that the tablet would be running a variation of the BlackBerry OS, never ever Android. While Research In Motion is just now showing us signs of BlackBerry 6, it's not exactly far out there to think that there may be more to BlackBerry 6 then what we have currently seen. Everything seems to lead to Research In Motion putting that to work for them more so then ever now. If that is indeed the case, then we really need to learn more about the workings of BlackBerry 6 over the next little while.

One thing from BlackBerry 6 that we've seen mentioned associated with the tablet was the "swipe gestures" many folks have attributed the patent specifically to the tablet and the tablet alone. Yet, as was revealed at WES the swipe gestures have moved into the realm of handheld devices making use of the trackpad. In the end, this portion of the tablet saga remains a wide open subject for anyone who wishes to take on the task of finding out more information.

Conclusion

As we mentioned previously, no one really knows what is going on with the Research In Motion tablet. I'd personally go so far as to say not even Research In Motion knows at this point what is happening. Do they shelve the idea and move on? Do they make use of recent acquisitions and move into a market which seems unfamiliar to them? All this talk of tablet business seems like a story from days past. Yet, at the same time we could be now talking about a future product from Research In Motion. Time will tell I guess.

Reader comments

The BlackBerry Tablet - What We Know And What We Don't

47 Comments

RIM has fair chances to build tablet for corporate world
And merge BB services with complete office automation with
Little fun and multimedia...

OS? May be customized OS6.
Or
Android or Win7 or some linux flavor.

I will wait and keep my eyes open for this.

This is going to be like the iPhone-Storm scenario. It might be a decent tablet, but the iPad will put it to shame.

I'm not trying to start a fanfight, but I often talk to my co-workers about the Ipad. Not one of them has purchased it yet for the following:
1. No Adobe Flash support
2. No usb support (for any device)
3. No multitasking

Any company manufacturing tablets/pads can easily 1 up the Ipad by incorporating any of the above (which is what they're doing now). Why is it that Apple makes devices that are locked down beyond belief?

1. No flash means fewer ads and a faster page load.

2. Not entirely true, they sell a cable.

3. Coming in the fall and app switching is so fast on the ipad I am not sure it matters.

1) I hate Flash as much as anyone, but the reality is there's a lot of Flash-only content, especially video. I welcome HTML5, but I think banning Flash at this point is silly.

2) I'm pretty sure the GP meant USB host. So that you can connect a USB flash drive. I'd consider that a pretty important feature to compete with netbooks.

3) iPhone OS multitasking is horribly limited compared to what you see on other platforms. Apps still wont really be able to run in the background, they'll just be able to make use of background services if they need to do one of the 7 background tasks Apple has created daemons for. If you want to do anything outside those 7 features, you're out of luck.

I hope that guy int he picture is short! If not, that thing is MASSIVE! who would use something that as unwieldy as that looks to be?!?! The iPad is too big IMHO, and it is miniscule compared to the "cobalt"

Seriously, the tablet is an Apple fad...It will run its course. RIM should move into the laptop area, but make it a mini the size of those Fujitsu Lifebooks! I rub my nipples at the thought of a RIM based laptop where I can have DM right on my phone ;)

they cant get a dev to develop a half decent app because, they cant figure out what to do with the memory problems..... and they decide to launch a other product instead of fixing the ones we have. what a poorly managed company.... maybe they should listen to the consumers for once

Is that they wont be building one. BB has enough issue's with the core products. Get that fixed and then we can talk about a tablet.

I would not buy a RIM tablet simply because I've lost all hope in RIM doing anything cool. the think would probably only have 128mb of space. Add the reason for RIM being in the top is do into part of there 8520 a cheap built phone that sells for free - $50

The picure you are looking at is fake and is photoshopped. If you look at the resolution of the guy's face compared to the clarity of the (so-called) tablet, it is two different resolutions. The tablet is super clear and the man's face is fuzzier!! Photoshop has come a long way and people are apt to do ANYTHING just to get any type of rumor mill going!! The tablet you see is nothing more that a compressed Storm with the SEND and END buttons photoshopped out!! Look closely.....

even more LOL for people needing to scrutinize the picture to determine it is not an actual prototype device. Look at the size of that thing...its the size of a freaking boogie board.

You can also see the Photoshop "cut" lines around the guys hands especially the hand right underneath the BB menu button!! This is so fake!! But - kudos to whoever started the rumor! Very ingenious!! I will be a believer when I see other pics surface.

Blackberry portable TV?? haha

But yeah, it's sad to say but I doubt RIM's capabilities of doing anything innovative. Blackberry likes to play it safe, and take calculated risks based on over-analysis of the market. Only RIM would come up with an idea, only to have it's competitor release it before.

Can you imagin it??? A BlackBerry laptop runnin the new 6.0...IF the BerryPad (my nickname!!) IS for real it would have to have SOMETHING to offer besides a big BlackBerry...if I can go out and buy the latest BB that does the same THING...then its a waste of cash AND a fad...RIM!! Don't sell out to make a buck!!

For people calling it a joke - THE DEVICE IN THE PICTURE IS NOT REAL THE PICTURE IS NOT INTENDED TO PORTRAY THE BLACKBERRY TABLET HOW IT WILL ACTUALLY BE.

Also note- I think we also know the size of the screen which is to be 8.9 inches

So interesting to see all this stuff coming from Waterloo. The city can't even manage to keep good roads and fill all these pot-holes, yet we are making phones and not tablets. Amazing

Is blackberry in charge of infastructure in Waterloo? Is the City of Waterloo in charge of blackberry?

Your post = FAIL.

I'll call Guinness and let them know you are attempting to break the record for consecutive moronic posts.

Hey, there's a streetlight out on my block. Im calling IBM!!!

Um, I live in Waterloo, and WTF are you smoking? How does RIM have ANYTHING to do with the state of roads here? And besides, the maintenance of roads here is excellent, it's transit that's lacking, but that's not the city's job either.

I just gota a settlement from the city for $1500 for messed up suspension on my BMW 335 coupe from a Waterloo pothole. The city is well aware of the problem or they would not have paid. Its NOT CONNECTED TO RIM ATALL. Its just an example of what I find amazing, that people from the same place (residents of waterloo) can make such wonderful things and others cannot even make sure a road is well kept. What a group of dynamic people we are.

I could see the tablet as an extension of your BB. Almost like an external display. Corporations could almost eliminate the need for PCs. Issue employees a BB and a tablet and what else do they need? Most things exist on corporate servers or in the cloud now, all you need is a device to interact with that cloud. BB6 we've heard can exist on different types of devices (touch vs non touch) so I could see you working on something on your commute into work - an email for example - then you arrive at the office and connect to your display/tablet through the docking station, BT, whatever, and boom your messages app now opens up on your larger display and you continue the message. So basically the BB is running the display/tablet, but the user experience is much different, including swipey gestures. Going on a business trip? Pack your tablet and BT keyboard and you have your mobile office. Oh and don't forget your BB presenter for that big presentation you have to give...

I can sooo see this happen. I'm actually wondering how much money can be saved from running small efficient tablets that can be docked once in the office but also how much better the internet would be if millions of computers around the world wouldn't be checking email servers every minute and instead they would run on a push email from rim. That would probably save electricity as well.

I'm seeing comments of OS6 on a tablet? Are you actually looking for that to happen? Yeah, that would sell. LOL

So i dont think we need to worry about this thing anytime soon since rimm takes FOREVER to release something

I would like a product like this if it could be used as a laptop. Sometimes carrying around even a 13inch laptop can be cumbersome. It would be great to use my blackberry phone to get the tablet on the internet so I can send documents and e-mails and check my school blackboard site. The Ipad is a cute device but is basically a big Ipod. I don't play a lot of games or watch a lot of videos and I can listen to music just fine on my Ipod touch. But if I could have a small laptop, not a netbook but an actual laptop I could do work on with office software, that would feed off my blackberry phone to get online, that would be a perfect gift for me. :-)

They need to get this new OS and browser out first. Its a cool idea but we all know the ipad will win. But I'd still buy one just because I'm loyal to my BlackBerry.

Do ya'll know what RIM plans to do with the Dash buy-out? I mean.....they bought them like 20 years ago lol........has there been any mention of when consumers will see the fruits of the buy-out?