RIM could unveil its answer to Apple's iPad next week

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Research in Motion could reveal the "Blackpad," its response to Apple's iPad, at next week's BlackBerry Developer Conference, a new report claims.

BlackBerry DevCon runs from Sept. 27-30 in San Francisco, Calif., and would be an ideal time for RIM to reveal the rumored tablet.

Sources familiar with the BlackBerry maker's plans told the Wall Street Journal that the tablet will feature a "seven-inch touch screen and one or two built-in cameras" and will forgo the BlackBerry 6 operating system for a new OS developed by QNX.

Earlier this year, RIM bought QNX, which makes operating systems for everything from "cars to nuclear reactors." RIM's purchase of QNX was seen as a move to counter problems with the BlackBerry operating system, which critics have described as "slow and buggy."

The new tablet device will support Bluetooth, broadband, and tethering with a BlackBerry smartphone, according to the report.

Sources also claimed that the device will be manufactured by Quanta Computer, the world's largest notebook manufacturer, with chips sourced from Marvell Technology Group.

Although a spokeswoman for Quanta and executives at Marvell told the Journal that their companies were independently working on tablets, neither company would name RIM as the client. RIM declined to comment on the rumors.

Bloomberg reported in July that RIM was prepping the "Blackpad" for a November release. RIM acquired the blackpad.com domain earlier in July.

The runaway success of the iPhone has RIM scrambling to keep up. Second quarter data from Research firm Gartner revealed that iOS and Android continued to gain on RIM in world-wide smartphone sales. In August, RIM held a high-profile publicity event to launch the BlackBerry Torch, a smartphone meant to compete with the iPhone 4.