updated 01:25 am EDT, Sun July 11, 2010
Analyst hears BBerry tablet more independent
RIM's rumored BlackBerry tablet may have had firmer details provided today through a research note from Rodman and Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar later on Friday. Sources in the industry claim the slate could be smaller than thought with just a seven inch display, but it could be a truly independent device rather than just the rebirth of the Foleo portrayed earlier. It would have a 1GHz processor from an unknown supplier and both front and back cameras, with videoconferencing as its most unique feature.
Rather than depend on a BlackBerry smartphone to get its connection, it would also have its own 3G cellular chip provided by Marvell. The choice of supplier may hint that Marvell is supplying the main processor as well; the Armada 618 is a prime candidate. If so, it could play 1080p video and otherwise leapfrog the iPad in some areas of visual performance.
The tablet has been aimed at an early 2011 launch, but its creator is hoping to move it up to late this year, Kumar claimed.
RIM has lately been non-committal on tablets; it hasn't rejected them outright but has also said that these devices needed to fit into a context alongside both phones and computers. If the tablet is completed, the company would be following a similar pattern to that which it took for the Storm, where the hardware was at least partly a reaction to missing a design trend set by Apple. Turnaround time would be quicker, however, as RIM could have its tablet in stores less than a year after the iPad and may even have been developing it significantly before Apple's official unveiling.
In writing his advice to investors, Kumar also filled in details on Apple supply issues, reiterating his earlier view that there were Retina Display-related iPhone 4 shortages and that LG Display's 9.7-inch iPad screen was also curbing the number of devices Apple could deliver. Yields were going up, but Apple would be "unlikely to completely satiate" demand through the rest of the year. He was optimistic that an equilibrium could spike Apple's sales levels, and called for 70 million iPhones in all of 2011 and 27 million iPads over the same period.