Is there any technology company that isn’t considering building a tablet computer at this point?  The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was lousy with them this year, and that was before Apple had even officially announced the iPad.  Now in a market flush with tablets, rumors have begun to circulate that at least one more big name company may be making its way into the marketplace reported on stories that have begun circulating via a research firm that specializes in component supply chain information that RIM (Research In Motion), the company behind the BlackBerry brand of smartphones has ordered 8.9-inch screens.  While that order in and of itself does not say the company is working on a tablet, it’s difficult to imagine what else the screens would be destined for.

The peculiar other piece of the puzzle is that RIM has announced it has purchased QNX Software, a maker of in-car infotainment systems.  Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at RIM said, “In addition to our interests in expanding the opportunities for QNX in the automotive sector and other markets, we believe the planned acquisition of QNX will also bring other value to RIM in terms of supporting certain unannounced product plans for intelligent peripherals, adding valuable intellectual property to RIM’s portfolio and providing long-term synergies for the companies based on the significant and complementary OS expertise that exists within the RIM and QNX teams today.”

What are these “other markets”?  Is RIM looking at tablets?  Infotainment systems for cars?  Some sort of hybrid of the two that would let you take the device out of the car?  Mr. Lazaridis has also been quoted in the past as saying, “I don’t see the benefits of a tablet over a notebook… A lot of technology falls in the middle.”

Well … an 8.9-inch has to be for something, and unless RIM is planning a really large BlackBerry that will look ridiculous when you hold it up to your head, something is being planned.  The screens are expected to be delivered late in the 3rd quarter, or early in the 4th quarter so it will be some time before we hear for sure what exactly the plan is.

If this proves to be true, you really have to wonder just how many tablets the market can sustain.

Sound off in the comments.  Do you think RIM is planning a tablet?  If so, is it a good idea?