We’ve been hearing rumors that Research in Motion is working on a tablet for a while now. But Boy Genius Report has the first details/rumors about how exactly you’re supposed to use the thing. If you were hoping for an oversized BlackBerry Storm which you could use as a standalone device, it sounds like you may be out of luck. Instead, RIM hopes to position the tablet as a companion device for BlackBerry smartphones.
According to BGR’s sources, the tablet will have an 8.9 inch display and you’ll be able to tether it to a BlackBerry phone via Bluetooth or WiFi. The idea is to give you a bigger screen for watching movies, reading books, email messages, or surfing the web — without actually replacing your phone. You won’t be able to use it over a 3G network unless it’s tethered to your phone, although it’s not entirely clear from the report whether you’ll be able to use the tablet as a standalone web browser or media player over WiFi.
If the whole concept sounds kind of familiar, that’s because it is. The Palm Foleo was designed to do pretty much the same thing, only it would be paired with PalmOS phones. Palm killed off the project shortly before low cost netbooks took over the world — and made the idea of buying a $400 to $500 dumb terminal instead of a standalone netbook seem a bit silly. The Celio Redfly is a Foleo-like device that you can pair with a Windows Mobile or BlackBerry phone. And while the Redfly did make it to market, the company hasn’t exactly become a household name. Maybe RIM can do better with a BlackBerry tablet, since it will be an official BlackBerry product? Only time will tell.