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RIM Working on a ‘BlackPad’ Tablet?

Canada’s Research in Motion is holding a press event on August 3 in New York where it is widely expected to unveil a new BlackBerry device to challenge Apple’s iPhone 4 and the growing hoard of Android-powered smartphones on the market. However, Bloomberg is reporting that the BlackBerry maker is also planning a tablet device to take on the Apple iPad—and, if RIM’s recent domain acquisitions are any indication, it may be called the “BlackPad.”

According to Bloomberg, which cites two people “familiar with the company’s plans,” RIM’s tablet device will feature a 9.7-inch diagonal screen and include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology. However, instead of building in 3G connectivity or mobile broadband solutions—even as an option, as in the case of the iPad—RIM apparently expects users to pair the tablet device with a BlackBerry smartphone if they want to connect to the Internet using 3G. On one hand, that setup would appeal to folks who are already paying for data service for their BlackBerry device; on the other hand, it makes the hypothetical tablet device more of a peripheral to a smartphone rather than a standalone Internet-connected device.

Bloomberg claims RIM is eyeing a November introduction for the tablet.

Research in Motion recently acquired the domain blackpad.com, fueling speculation that the company plans to call its first tablet device BlackPad, in line with the company’s existing BlackBerry product line.

Some industry watchers speculate that rather than going after the consumer market with an initial tablet offering, RIM may choose to focus on its enterprise and government customers, making the tablet a larger interface to things like BlackBerry email and messaging services those organizations rely on, rather than trying to take on Apple—and the massive App Store—right out of the gate with a consumer offering.