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RIM Tests A Tablet And New BlackBerry to Rival iPhone

Research In Motion Ltd. is readying a slate of new devices and software as it looks to keep its BlackBerry smartphone from losing more ground to touch-screen devices like Apple Inc.'s iPhone and iPad

RIM is testing a touch-screen smartphone with a slide-out keyboard, according to people familiar with the device. The phone runs on a new version of the BlackBerry operating system and works much like an iPhone, letting users swipe through screens and expand images with their fingers, these people say. It also has a universal search bar that lets users scour all the phone's data and some data online as well, these people say.

RIM is also experimenting with a tablet device to serve as a larger-screen companion to its BlackBerry phone, say people familiar with RIM's plans. That device, which is in an early stage of development, will connect to cellular networks via a BlackBerry phone, these people say. It could come out as soon as the end of the year, these people say.

A RIM spokeswoman said the company doesn't comment on rumors and speculation. RIM executives have said they will ship a phone running a new operating system and a new Web browser in the quarter ending Sept. 30, but haven't provided details of the device. They haven't discussed plans for a tablet.

Src & Text: [wsj]

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