RIM is experimenting with two prototype devices in an attempt to stem the flow of market share to Apple.
The handset maker is developing a touchscreen handset with a slide-out keyboard, which replicates some of the UI features of the iPhone, sources told the Wall Street Journal.
A prototype of the device runs on the upcoming version 6.0 of the BlackBerry's OS, and currently comes with 4GB of storage space and a five megapixel camera.
But the Canadian company is also testing out a tablet device to compete with the iPad, the same sources said. It will be able to connect to mobile networks by being tethered to a BlackBerry handset.
While the tablet is reportedly in an early stage of development, it could be launched by the end of the year.
RIM has already announced plans to ship a phone running BlackBerry OS 6.0 and a revamped web browser in the September quarter, but has made no public statements about plans for a tablet device.
The vendor has lost market share to Apple in its core US market over the past year, with its share falling to 38% in 1Q10 compared to 54% in 1Q09. Meanwhile, Apple’s US share grew from 18% to 23% by end 1Q10.
Word of the prototypes left the market buzzing, sending RIM stocks soaring over 5%, or 3.15 Canadian dollars (€2.49), on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
The stock is currently trading at $64.49, but this is down from nearly $91 just a year ago.