RIM, the Canadian company behind the BlackBerry, plans to attack the tablet market with a device that could be launched as early as next week.
The tablet - dubbed the BlackPad by some RIM staffers - is due to hit the market in the fourth quarter but could be unveiled at a developers' conference in San Francisco next week, Wall Street Journal reported.
It will run on a new operating system built by QNX Software, a car navigation software specialist RIM acquired in April, rather than the recently-released BlackBerry 6.
Because of its inability to win the favor of developers, RIM eventually plans to junk the current BlackBerry OS and move all of its phones to the QNX system, sources told WSJ.
Like the initial version of the iPad, the device will carry Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chips but not 3.5G connectivity. It has a seven-inch touch screen and at least one built-in camera.
The tablet is being manufactured by Taiwanese OEM Quanta and will run on chips Californian firm Marvell, which already makes chips for BlackBerrys.
The launch of the Apple iPad in April sparked a rush of IT and handset firms into the market, almost all using the Android OS.
Samsung, the no.2 mobile phone firm, is about to start selling the Android-powered Galaxy Tab in the US, Cisco has announced the Cius, optimized for enterprise and videoconferencing, and Acer is reported to be planning a tablet launch for the fourth quarter.
Dell’s Streak device made its Asian debut on Tuesday in Hong Kong, priced at HK$5,499 ($707) with Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, the company announced.