RIM Prepping BlackBerry Tablet, Storm 3 and 4

By Matthew Braga

After much speculation, a source close to RIM has revealed the company is working on a tablet of their own, with two Storm successors in the works as well.

RIM is currently working on a tablet device similar in size to the iPad, Tested has learned. A source close to RIM has revealed that the device, currently in the prototype stages, is being designed to compete with the iPad in terms of battery life and functionality. This comes after recent reports by both BlackBerry Leaks and Crackberry that the Waterloo-based company is placing orders with Chinese electronics manufacturer Hon Hai for 8.9-inch displays. It is unknown when the projected release date for such a device would be, though it does mark a reversal of RIM's earlier trepidation towards entering the tablet market.

 BlackBerry's Storm 2
SurePress technology found in previous models, and the company believes this implementation to be "perfect". Surepress, if you recall, was the feature in the first Storm that allowed users to depress the touchscreen to get tactile feedback while typing or navigating through the UI. This goes against earlier rumors that the Storm 3 is actually a planned slider phone, which suggests that Mr. T/Talladega will instead be the long-awaited slide-out device. The Storm 3 will be running BB OS 6.0, with a strong focus on multimedia capabilities, as hinted at in RIM's announcement video last week. However, gaming is also said to be hugely important; apparently, the company is working with EA to have a mobile version of The Sims pre-installed. EA has yet to respond with a statement at this time.

RIM is also planning to release the Storm 4, some time in 2011. Referred to as an "iPhone killer", the device is said to have an accelerometer, magnetometer — allowing the phone to act as a true compass — 5 Megapixel camera and upgraded GPS internals. Based on the codename of the phone (which our source asked that we not publish), we also speculate that this could lead to an increased focus on augmented reality applications, putting RIM in an ideal position to capitalize on the relatively untapped AR market. Meanwhile, despite the supposedly "perfect" input technology on the Storm 3, it is unknown what sort of Surepress implementation will be used in this device.

As each of these devices is still in development, things could be subject to change. However, with OS 6.0 just a few months away, and some of the first devices being announced this summer, it won't take long to see how things pan out.