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Marvell Down, TI Up on RIM Chip Swap

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Some clues have emerged around the mysterious disappearance of the BlackPad and the sudden appearance of Research In Motion's (RIMM) PlayBook tablet.

It's all in the chips, according to people close to RIM's suppliers and manufacturing.

Apparently, due to a buggy Marvell (MRVL) processor, RIM was forced to scratch the debut of its long-awaited tablet, the BlackPad, last week.

(When asked last week at San Francisco's GigaOM Mobilize 2010 event whether Marvell's new Armada 628 chips would appear in a tablet from longtime RIM partner, Marvell co-founder Weili Dai told TheStreet she couldn't comment on prospective customers.)

But instead of having nothing to show developers who are being called on to create applications for the new QNX operating system, RIM rolled out a second-generation tablet that will run on a Texas Instruments (TXN) processor.

Word of the chip switch started trickling to Wall Street Tuesday afternoon, sending share prices of the two chip shops to opposite ends of the dial. Marvell was down 2.5% to $16.80 and TI was up 4.23% to $28.36.

The problem for RIM is that aside from a few display models of the PlayBook, actual production of the tablet device is way off in the future -- probably not until the second half of next year.

By then, Apple (AAPL) is expected to have a second, smaller version of the iPad, and Cisco (CSCO) will have released its Cius tablet for office workers.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.



>To contact this writer, click here: Scott Moritz, or email: scott.moritz@thestreet.com.

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