The Wall Street Journal is adding fuel to rumors that BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is quietly developing a slate device. In line with previous reports, the paper suggests that the tablet won't have its own 3G modem; instead it will function as a companion to BlackBerry phones and rely on tethering for internet access on the go. According to "people familiar with RIM's plans," the tablet is in an early stage of development and could be available by the end of 2010.

The device is expected to run RIM's latest operating system, version 6.0, which will have multi-touch functionality, allowing users to swipe through different screens loaded with icons for their applications and pinch to zoom images. There's also a new browser which renders pages much faster than the current version and supports tabs, as well as an universal search bar that allows users to look up everything on the device – a la Google's Android. Little other details have been revealed other than the new software is aimed at addressing many of the complaints users have with BlackBerry devices.

A phone running OS 6.0 is expected by the end of September 2010, at the earliest. The new smartphone, which is currently in testing, will have a QWERTY keyboard that slides out from the bottom of the touch screen, a software keyboard in landscape mode, four gigabytes of storage space and a five megapixel camera.