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BlackBerry plans iPad rival

tech-reviews Updated: Aug 20, 2010 16:58 IST

IANS
Highlight Story

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) will pack its soon-to-be-launched iPad with a unique software technology currently being used in navigating the powerful Crusher combat vehicle by the US Army.

The iPad will likely be called BlackPad as RIM has already registered the domain name of blackpad.com for it.

It is expected to be unveiled by November when other major players such as Motorola, Samsung and Hewlett-Packard are also likely to release their tablets.

Though RIM has not yet revealed the new technology which will distinguish its tablet computer from Apple's iPad, reports say the BlackBerry iPad will run on software developed by QNX Software Systems.

BlackberryRIM acquired this Ottawa-based software company for $200 million in April to have exclusive access to its software technology for its tablet. By buying QNX Software Systems, RIM has also brought on board independent software developers who develop applications exclusively for QNX. Since RIM is way behind Apple in offering applications on its devices, QNX's technology is a major boost for the Canadian wireless giant.

The QNX software technology powers not only the six-wheeled unmanned Crusher combat vehicle of the US Army but the music, media and navigation systems in cars from BMW and Porsche.

RIM has also reportedly decided to run the iPad on the QNX operating system rather than the BlackBerry 6 operating system which it unveiled just last month along with the BlackBerry Torch 9800, sources told the local Toronto Star newspaper.

According to these sources, the reason for RIM opting for the QNX operating system is that the BlackBerry 6 operating system carries legacy software from older BlackBerry devices - which is not needed in the first-generation BlackPad.

The BlackPad has also been designed to capitalize on RIM's strength with corporate customers, particularly with e-mail service, the sources familiar with RIM told the paper.

The tablet will be closely integrated with the BlackBerry's e-mail system and will have similar security for messaging, the sources said.

Though it will have Wi-Fi technology to connect to the Internet wherever "Wi-Fi 'hot-spots' are available, users will also be able to connect wirelessly to their mobile phone with Bluetooth technology and then to the Internet, according to the sources.

With Apple's iPhone 4 and Google Android smart phones outselling its devices in the last quarter, the new BlackBerry Torch 9800 failing to generate a huge response, many countries, including India, threatening to ban its devices, and its stock falling, RIM is under pressure to make a bold statement about its future course action. The launch of the iPad will be its first such statement.