RIM BlackPad tablet a WiFi/Bluetooth "companion" device; could drop this year

The BlackBerry tablet rumors continue, and it's looking more like a case of "when" RIM will out their touchscreen marvel rather than "if".  BGR's usual sources have come through with some information that seemingly corroborates what we heard last week; namely, that the tablet – codenamed BlackPad, we've heard before – will be a companion device rather than standalone product, which basically means no integrated 3G, only Bluetooth and WiFi.

In fact, BGR compare it to the ill-fated Palm Foleo, the netbook-style companion Palm envisaged mobile pros whipping out in-between meetings, hooking up to their smartphone and getting online via tethering.  Of course, the BlackPad would likely be a touchscreen-only device; otherwise RIM would run the risk of overlapping with the Celio REDFLY.

The source goes on to specify an 8.9-inch display and a multimedia focus – ebooks, browsing, email and photos – together with a targeted December 2010 release which is ahead of the 2011 launch we've heard before.  Most interesting, perhaps, are whispers of dissension in the ranks, with some RIM employees having "privately voiced their frustration" over the project as a whole.