The BlackBerry maker had hoped to offer a Google (GOOG) Android-powered tablet later this year, but has now backed off the plan, says Rodman Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar, who has been monitoring the supplier and manufacturing partners.
The so-called BlackPad RIM tablet -- first reported by BlackBerry Leaks -- is being pushed out to early next year, says Kumar.
The move marks the third time in two weeks that a would-be tablet maker has shelved product preparations aimed at challenging the Apple (AAPL) iPad. Last week, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) pulled the plug on its Slate tablet and Microsoft (MSFT) reportedly withdrew plans for the Courier device. Both tablets had been due to arrive this year, dealing Microsoft a major setback in its flailing mobile effort."Everyone is taking a second look at that product roadmap," says Kumar, referring to tablets. "It has to compare favorably to the iPad." RIM is expected to be designing its tablet for the consumer market -- not specifically to its core business users. As it stands now, says Kumar, RIM has enlisted Quanta, Taiwan's huge contract manufacturer, to build the device. And instead of using Google's Android software, RIM has decided to go with its own BlackBerry operating system, presumably the one featured at the company's developers' conference last week. The "BlackPad" is also slated to use Marvell's (MRVL) Armada processor, a significant supplier choice that once again has Intel (INTC) sitting outside the tablet market.
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