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RIM BlackPad tablet could be unveiled next week, with completely new OS

Reports suggest a new tablet from BlackBerry makers Research in Motion might debut next week, and it could see the debut of a completely new OS.

A tablet from BlackBerry makers Research in Motion could be revealed as soon as next week, running on a completely new operating system.

The bizarrely named 'BlackPad', as some RIM insiders have been calling it, will be out later in the year, the Wall Street Journal reports. The new tablet will run not on the new revamped BlackBerry 6 OS, but a new platform built by a firm called QNX that RIM bought last year.

RIM is apparently looking to replace the current BlackBerry OS with the QNX system, in order to compete better with Android and iOS. RIM responded to the WSJ's inquiries by saying it didn't respond to rumours or speculation.

Specs-wise, the tablet will have a 7-inch touchscreen and one or two cameras built-in. Bluetooth connectivity is also present, but strangely it will only connect through mobile networks and 3G via a BlackBerry.

RIM's reported willingness to dump BlackBerry OS 6 shows its lack of faith in its current technology to match up to the latest tablets and touchscreen phones. The phone which should have showcased the new OS, the BlackBerry Torch, has garnered lukewarm sales in the US, while over here new devices from HTC and Nokia have received much more hype.

You only have to look at Microsoft and Windows Phone 7 to see that completely starting again is sometimes necessary. BlackBerry phones are still hugely popular around the world. But more and more people are seeing the benefits of touchscreen devices, which aren't a major selling point for BlackBerry phones.

Apart from the Torch, RIM's recent launches have been refreshes of the Curve and soon the Bold -- these aren't likely to persuade people who're savvy about their smart phones. We've noticed there's much less fuss about a new BlackBerry phone than there used to be, so maybe it's right to start a new chapter. Do you agree?