RIM ‘planning tablet this year’

Research in Motion is said to be planning new products, including a touch-screen smartphone and a tablet device, in a push to see off the iPhone 4 and iPad.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the company is testing a touch-screen phone with slide-out Qwerty keyboard, running on the upcoming BlackBerry OS 6.0, due out in September.

The touch interface is believed to be similar to Apple’s, allowing swiping and pinching movements, and will include a virtual keyboard. There’s also a universal search bar.

It will come with 4GB of storage and a five megapixel camera.

The report also confirmed previousl rumours that RIM is working on a tablet device. It would hook up to a BlackBerry for cellular access, and which could be available by the end of the year.

Also under development, says the WSJ, is a new, much faster internet browser which allows users to access more than one web page at a time.

While RIM is still the market leader in the smartphone market, Apple is catching up fast, according to figures from IDC. Apple’s increased its market share from 11 percent to 16 percent over the last year, while RIM’s share has slipped slightly from 21 percent to 19 percent.