NEW YORK (
) -- Add
Research In Motion
to the list of tech shops rethinking its tablet strategy.
The BlackBerry maker had hoped to offer a
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 --
-- 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
iPad. Last week,
pulled the plug on its Slate tablet and
reportedly withdrew plans for the Courier device. Both tablets had been due to arrive this year, dealing
"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
, 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
, presumably the one featured at the company's developers' conference last week.
The "BlackPad" is also slated to use
Armada processor, a significant supplier choice that once again has
sitting outside the tablet market.
More on Tablets
The Apple iPad has struck a chord with gadget fans who have now scooped up more than
in the first month of sales. The initial enthusiasm for the device challenges assumptions about whether people would buy an in-between mobile device.
The iPad sets an emerging industry standard of sorts in areas like long battery life, a range of prices from $500 to $830 and a diminutive operating system geared toward media consumption and not computing.
Would-be rivals need to stack up favorably with those features or find an edge that would help set the device apart from the iPad. RIM's decision to go with its own operating system suggests that it will tap some of its email-specialist strength in the upcoming tablet wars.
Similarly, Hewlett-Packard's second-guessing on tablets, in the wake of its deal for Palm, signals a possible shift from the bulky Microsoft Windows 7 operating system toward the Palm WebOS mobile software.
--Written by Scott Moritz in New York