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BlackBerry to launch 9.7 inch Blackpad in November?

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BlackBerry to launch 9.7 inch Blackpad in November?
Bloomberg is reporting that according to two people familiar with RIM's plans, this November the company will launch a tablet with a 9.7 inch display. Called the Blackpad, the size of the screen matches Apple's iPad and RIM is hoping to match the success of the competing tablet. Apple sold 3 million units in the first 80 days after launch. Rodman and Renshaw analyst Ashkok Kumar said that RIM needs to hurry up and offer a similar product before a new generation of iPad is released. "They can’t wait for a second generation of devices fromApple or they’ll fall too far behind," the analyst noted. According to the Whois database, RIM has reserved the internet site Blackpad.com.

As far as pricing is concerned, RIM is expected to stay in the same $499 and up range of Apple's tablet. The Blackpad will sport a full touchscreen and a slideout physical QWERTY keyboard as opposed to the virtual one on the iPad. The tablet will integrate closely with the e-mail capabilities of the BlackBerry handsets. Still, some on Wall Street expect this to be a tough battle for RIM. Robert W. Baird's William Power says, "With the success of the iPad, RIM faces an uphillbattle. RIM really hasyet to demonstrate that it can roll out touchscreen technologyto match the leaders in the space, most noticeably Apple." There is no word on which carriers will be offering the device in the U.S., or if RIM is planning on signing an exclusivity pact with one of the operators.

source: Bloomberg

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