BlackBerry's rumored tablet: Pros and cons

RIM's "BlackPad" could be unveiled Monday. Here's a look at how the potential features could match up against other tablets

It's all been speculation and rumor for the last year, but now that the Wall Street Journal has joined the rumor mill, many are saying that Research in Motion will launch its top-secret "BlackPad", or Blackberry tablet, in San Francisco on Monday.

RIM, however, has declined to comment about "rumors and speculation," so as of yet there is no official word on the existence of the near-mythical BlackPad. Despite all that, let's take look at the potential pros and cons, and see if the BlackPad is a likely iPad Killer or simply another piece of hyped hardware.


7-inch Touchscreen

The new, 7-inch screen seems to be where the industry is heading, with the Galaxy Tab and Cisco Cius also sporting same-size, diminutive displays. Apple is also rumored to be resizing its iPad screens for a more compact product. The smaller device can make the tablet more portable for employees, fitting easily into briefcases or handbags. While the BlackPad won't have a cellular carrier, it will be able to use tethering--using a Blackberry phone to gain access--but will also have a broadband connection, likely Wi-Fi, according to the rumors.

At Least One Built-in Camera

The BlackPad is also suspected to have one or two built-in cameras for easy videoconferencing between offices or locations, which, of course, also could be used for taking photos or recording video for company Websites or Facebook profiles. The iPad, as of yet, has no such thing.

RIM's Street Cred

RIM's business tools are universally respected for businesses, and many IT administrators like its platforms and administrative tools. There's hope that RIM's new tablet will be just as business-friendly, and possibly a real competitor for Apple. Unfortunately, the number of Blackberry devices have dwindled, but RIM still holds the majority of business market share, so it might be able to regain some of its lost customers.


7-inch Touchscreen

Although the 7-inch touchscreen now seems to be de rigueur for new tablets, there still hasn't been a historical demand for such products, and it's unknown if there actually is one. It's still too big for pockets but also could be too small for nearsighted employees. For business purposes, the small screen may also not offer enough room to display software or applications effectively.

Yet-Unnamed Platform

The BlackPad is reportedly using a new platform developed by QNX Software Systems, not the Blackberry 6 operating system. Reports say that RIM will eventually move its handsets to that same unnamed OS, but not much else is known about it. Some say it's likely going to be aimed at enterprise customers with an increased emphasis on corporate and government users.

That means if you're running RIM products now, it's likely you're going to be making a major investment in the next year to get on its newest OS. This could push companies into investing in other platforms like Android or the iPad.

Fewer Apps

One of the surefire problems with the new tablet will be a lack of applications. Apple and Android have hundreds of thousands of apps for their operating systems, making RIM's almost 9,000 apps appear anemic in comparison. Worse, for both the Apple iOS and Android platforms, there are far fewer apps made specifically for tablet displays rather than mobile phones. RIM will have to work hard in the next month to create specific applications for BlackPad use. They had better work quickly.

If the BlackPad is real, then RIM has placed itself in a precarious position of launching a new product and a new operating system without much infrastructure in place. That must change quickly if RIM intends on holding on to its marketshare and creating desire for its latest invention. Otherwise, customers will choose the easier and faster route of a known product while RIM continues to look for a winning strategy.

Reach or follow Barbara E. Hernandez on Twitter: @bhern.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Applehardware systemstablet PCslaptopsresearch in motionRIM BlackBerryapple ipad

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Barbara E. Hernandez

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?