RIM readying iPhone and iPad clones - report

Maker of BlackBerries, Research In Motion, is beavering away on designs for touchscreen communications devices that may bear a spooky similarity to Apple's iPhone and iPad, the Wall Street Journal reports.

According to the report RIM's touch-screen phone has a slide-out keyboard and runs on a new version of the BlackBerry operating system.

RIM is also toying with a tablet device, which would connect to the web through a BlackBerry phone, the Journal's sources said. It may see the light of day this year, if the sources aren't full of sauce.

RIM is keeping mum on the matter, although it has promised a new OS and browser by the autumn.

The Canadian company, which dominates the US smartphone space, has seen its market share eroded by the iPhone as well as Android devices. One research outfit said its slice of the smartphone pie in America had been cut from 54 per cent to 38, while Apple's surged from 18 per cent to 23 per cent in the same time-frame.