updated 10:35 am EDT, Thu May 13, 2010
RIM BlackBerry tablet may just be companion
RIM's rumored BlackBerry tablet is really just a revival of Palm's Foleo concept, tips today suggest. The 8.9-inch device would only be a companion to an existing BlackBerry and would provide a larger screen for books, movies, photos and the web. Either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi would provide the connection to the smartphone, with no 3G for the tablet itself.
The BGR sources don't have a hard ship date. RIM is purportedly aiming for December but hopes to have it in the market sooner if possible.
While unlikely to be confirmed by RIM unless it becomes a shipping product, the companion tablet faces uncertain prospects. Its closest analogy, the Foleo, was killed off before it was even released as it became clear that the $500, notebook-like partner to a Treo was unlikely to sell well. Former Apple executive put an end to the device to refocus Palm on what would become the Pre, a move many credit with prolonging Palm's survival long enough for it to be acquired by HP this year. The nearest equivalent, the Celio RedFly, has had only modest success.
Those within RIM may be aware of this, as some providing the rumor have expressed "frustration" that the company would even try such a tablet.
On the record, co-CEO Mike Lazaridis has avoided direct confirmations or denials, saying the market was unclear for a tablet; at the time, however, he had been referring to device-independent tablets like the iPad.