With Apple’s iPad selling more than a million devices within days of launch in the US and its iPhone set to overtake BlackBerry globally, Research In Motion, the maker of BlackBerry, is reportedly launching its own tablet later this year.

The Canadian company, based at Waterloo near Toronto, has not confirmed the reports, but bloggers say the tablet would be 8.9 inches and likely launched in December.

It will be the first non-hand-held device from the BlackBerry maker which is facing a tough challenge in the crowded smart phone market, with devices using Google’s Android and iPhone using Apple’s own software fast making inroads into its monopoly even in the high-end corporate market.

The BlackBerry tablet will have no mobile networking but will connect to its smart phone devices through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, say reports.

HP is also rumoured to be getting ready to launch its own HP Hurricane tablet, based on the Palm OS software, later in the year.

Both Blackberry maker and HP are currently studying the iPad to consider what they can add to their product to make it an alternative to the Apple device, say analysts.

Taiwanese hardware manufacturer Quanta is likely to provide hardware and California-based maker Marvell Technology Group silicon solutions for the BlackBerry tablet.

Bigger than a smart phone but smaller than a laptop, the touch-screen tablet is set to become a new game-changer in internet browsing, gaming, e-reading and content creation and management. Weighing just 1.5 pounds, it has amazing battery life of nearly 10 hours.

It also gives users access to Apple’s app store - the world’s biggest - with more than 200,000 applications. After its launch in the US April 3, the iPad will hit nine more markets - Canada, Britain, Germany, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Japan.

Keywords: iPadBlackBerryHPiPhone