Is there a market for a BlackBerry companion tablet?

RIM is building a tablet, but it needs to be tied to a BlackBerry to actually work. Will consumers want it?
Written by Joel Evans, Contributor

Apparently RIM didn't learn from Palm's missteps with its Foleo. BGR has confirmed with its sources that RIM is indeed working on a tablet, but unfortunately it's going to be a companion device. This means that it won't offer the ability to work standalone and will instead need a BlackBerry connected to it either via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

It actually hurt me to write the above paragraph. These days why would you need a companion device? We saw it with Palm and its Foleo, which it killed off before it could ship, and even the REDFLY Mobile Companion, which I liked but couldn't justify keeping since it was simply a companion.

It's products like BlackBerry's companion tablet that make me wonder if some companies do any focus-group testing at all. Did existing BlackBerry users tell RIM that they wished they had a companion device that was 8.9" and could only work with their BlackBerry tethered?

It will definitely be interesting to see if there's a market for this device. The only reason I can think of that it could succeed is that it won't require an additional data plan. In that case I could see some corporations issuing them along with the BlackBerry, but most people I know who use a BlackBerry have no need for a larger screen. When they want to type a longer e-mail or surf, they pull out their laptop. Will this tablet be accurate enough for touch typing on glass? If not, will you type on the BlackBerry while watching your tablet's screen? Share your thoughts below.

Editorial standards