Rumors of a BlackBerry tablet have been circulating for months, and statements from Rodman & Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar on Friday have rekindled the discussion with a little bit more accuracy.
A source close to RIM confirmed to Betanews that Kumar’s statements were accurate, including the screen size, and the dual camera setup. But they gave us a bit of additional information that the rumors haven’t covered yet: Flash support.
In May, when Boy Genius Report wrote about it, it was estimated to be 8.9″ in size, and equipped only with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, making it a companion device to the owner’s BlackBerry, sort of like what Palm attempted with the Foleo.
In June, the Wall Street Journal followed up, saying that the device will have a slide-out keyboard, and will run on “a new version of the BlackBerry operating system…[with] a universal search bar.”
Some of what the Wall Street Journal report discussed can be seen in the BlackBerry 6 video that was released today.
In his note on Friday morning, Kumar said the BlackBerry tablet will actually be a 7″ device with a 1GHz Marvell Processor that has two cameras for video conferencing.
Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said Flash 10.1 would be coming to BlackBerry in the second half of 2010, and in June, the company released Flash Player 10.1 to its mobile platform partners; which included support for Android, webOS, Windows Phone, LiMo, MeeGo, Symbian, and, as expected, BlackBerry.
Our source said that the BlackBerry tablet will indeed include Flash, and will have a hardware-based Flash accelerator.
Even though the iPhone is a huge success in the United States, it is still far behind BlackBerry in market share. The shoe is on the other foot in the tablet market, though, where Apple has gotten a strong head start with the iPad, even though the company has outspokenly denied support for Adobe Flash.
While the effect a Flash-supportive BlackBerry tablet will have on the consumer market is unclear, it may prove to be a very desirable companion device for mobile enterprise users.
Unfortunately, our source did not confirm earlier reports about the tablet’s December launch date. However, the holiday season is a beneficial time to launch new hardware, and seasonal buying has done wonders for devices like the Motorola Droid which launched during last year’s holiday season and went on to become the best-selling Android phone to date.