Report: RIM testing new BlackBerry, tablet

The BlackBerry maker has a phone with an updated operating system and a tablet device waiting in the wings, according to The Wall Street Journal.

RIM BlackBerry
Is RIM ready to update its BlackBerry with a touchscreen and slide-out keyboard? CNET

While Apple and Google have been getting the lion's share of attention in the smartphone world of late, Research In Motion isn't going quietly, according to a report.

The Wall Street Journal reports that RIM has a new touchscreen version of its BlackBerry smartphone up its sleeve, this time with a slide-out keyboard. The operating system running on the test device is also new: BlackBerry OS 6, which the company previewed earlier this year . It has some of the same features as Apple's iOS, which allows swiping and pinching motions on screen, as well as a new browser.

And has already been reported, RIM is working on a tablet device that will be a companion to the new BlackBerry. It will be able to connect to the Internet via the BlackBerry but won't be a standalone device like the Apple iPad. The WSJ's sources repeat the earlier report that the device will be available by the end of the year.

RIM has already said that BlackBerry OS 6 will ship by the end of the third quarter, or by September 30. That likely means the new phone won't be ready until then or later.

RIM is still the leader in the smartphone market, shipping 35 percent of the devices in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2010, according to data recently released by Nielsen. Apple is behind RIM with 28 percent of U.S. smartphones, followed by Windows Mobile phones with 19 percent, and Android smartphones with 9 percent.

But Apple and Android-based phones have much of the momentum. And now that Palm and its WebOS operating system have been purchased by tech industry heavyweight Hewlett-Packard, it means RIM needs to show that it's not only keeping up with competition, but pushing the category that it has long defined forward.

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