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RIM BlackPad To Launch In November

The proposed BlackPad is rumored to provide Wi-Fi and Bluetooth options for connecting with BlackBerry models, eliminating the need for tablet-specific wireless service.
It shouldn't be difficult for Research In Motion to deliver an iPad knockoff by the holiday season, as reported by various Asian media sources, which say the device is currently called the BlackPad. The good thing about getting into the iPad knockoff game is that there are several manufacturers in China and Taiwan that were producing iPad-like components months before Apple unveiled its iPad.

The first knockoffs were simple Android and Windows-7 powered tablets and they sold reasonably well. Basically, they were just iPod Touches on steroids. RIM shouldn't have much trouble putting together its BlackPad by November and, as rumored, it could have improvements like USB ports and printing capability.

The first tipoff about RIM's tablet plans came when the manufacturer of the BlackBerry reserved the www.BlackPad.com web address.

Analyst Ashok Kumar of Rodman & Renshaw, who contacted RIM suppliers, believes the BlackPad is likely to have front and rear videoconferencing cameras. "If they wait to release this product (they) will be competing with a second-generation iPad," said Kumar, according to U.S. media sources, "They (might) never catch up."

One feature of the proposed BlackPad should be Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections that would connect the tablet with various BlackBerry models, eliminating the need for users to sign up with carriers. RIM declined to comment on the reports.

The success of the iPad -- 3 million of the device were sold in 80 days -- has caused a minor stampede among mobile phone and laptop manufacturers to cash in on the phenomenon. Most manufacturers would have to meet Apple's $500 iPad price, but a proposed prototype iPad-lookalike design by the Indian government could cost as little as $35, according to Indian government officials.