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RIM logo on a BlackBerry (MARK BLINCH)
RIM logo on a BlackBerry (MARK BLINCH)

Top Business Stories

How will RIM's tablet play? How big a threat is deflation? Add to ...

These are stories Report on Business is following today. Get the top business stories through the day on BlackBerry or iPhone by bookmarking our mobile-friendly webpage.

The skinny on RIM's tablet The tech world is abuzz today on reports that Research In Motion Ltd. could take the wraps off a new tablet computer as early as next week, The Wall Street Journal reports. The tablet, which would rival the popular iPad from Apple Inc. and has been a subject of much speculation recently, could be introduced at a developers' conference in San Francisco, the news organization said. Some at RIM have dubbed the device the BlackPad, and, the Journal reports, it is scheduled to be released in the fourth quarter. With a seven-inch touch screen, it will have one or two built-in cameras, Bluetooth and broadband connections.

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But, the report said, it will only be able to connect to wireless networks through a BlackBerry. And, in what the Journal called a significant development, the BlackPad would have a new operating system built by QNX Software Systems, which was acquired by RIM this year.

Streetwise columnist Boyd Erman adds that RIM could introduce two sizes of the new tablet.

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This is a key time for RIM as it battles Apple's iPhone and the Android operating system from Google Inc. Analysts had been down on the company's stock, though its earnings last week buoyed investors. The Journal noted that a new RIM tablet will face what's shaping up to be a crowded field. Samsung Electronics Co., Acer Inc. and others are also rushing for a tablet.



Potash fight heats up The takeover battle for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan is escalating, moving into the courts as the company tries to fend off BHP Billiton Ltd.'s $38.6-billion (U.S.) hostile bid. Potash has now launched a lawsuit against BHP, alleging it made "false and misleading statements and omissions" in its offer and regarding its plans to acquire the business. The lawsuit, filed in a U.S. District Court in Illinois, doesn't seek monetary damages, but asks for complete and accurate disclosure. No allegations have been proven in court, and BHP officials did not immediately comment.



U.S. dollar takes it on chin The outlook for the U.S. dollar appears grim today in the wake of yesterday's policy decision by the Federal Reserve. The Federal Open Market Committee painted a grim picture of the U.S. recovery as it held rates steady yesterday, and signalled it is troubled by low inflation readings. It also said it stood ready to take new measures, should developments warrant that. Markets had speculated over whether the U.S. central bank could unveil some new measures - dubbed QE II by economists, meaning another round of quantitative easing - but it came up short.

"The Fed did push the door further ajar to the prospect of further stimulus for the economy by drawing attention to concerns about the benign level of inflation, and indicated that they stood ready to act as necessary, in the event that inflation continued to remain benign and economic conditions failed to improve," said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson. "It would appear that it is now the dollar's turn to become the whipping boy of the currency markets again."

Here's what Scotia Capital currency strategist Sacha Tihanyi had to say today:

"The FOMC decision to bring inflation into the discussion as justifying the potential for further policy action weighs heavily in the [foreign exchange]market today. Now that policymakers consider underlying inflation (core trends) to be currently at levels 'somewhat below' those judged most consistent with their dual mandate of price stability and maximum employment, a new dynamic for the [U.S. dollar]has entered the picture. This reflects the general concern that disinflationary pressures may gain traction, risking the chance that a very undesirable deflation dynamic takes hold. Indeed, the statement emphasized that the Fed is prepared to provide additional accommodation if needed to support the economic recovery and to return inflation to levels consistent with its mandate.

"This certainly provides justification for [U.S. dollar]weakness as a further dovish tilt in rhetoric has absolutely crushed the 2-year U.S. government bond yield, sending it to a new record low near 0.4075 per cent in trading today ... Where recently it was a loss in growth momentum, it now becomes the fear that policy will ease further and not be normalized for some time, along with the recognition that the FOMC is certainly worried about the prospects for deflation."

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