Research In Motion may debut a tablet computer next week at a conference for developers that tailor software for the Canadian firm's BlackBerry smartphones, according to the Wall Street Journal.

RIM responded to an AFP inquiry with a terse email stating that the company's "standard policy is to decline comment on rumors and speculation."

A tablet computer referred to unofficially as the "BlackPad" is due for release by RIM by the end of the year, prompting talk that it will be introduced at a Devcon 2010 gathering beginning in San Francisco on Monday.

The Journal cited unnamed insiders as saying BlackPad will have a seven-inch touch-screen, built-in cameras, and link wirelessly to cellular networks through BlackBerry smartphones.

BlackBerry smartphones have been under pressure from Apple iPhones and handsets running on Google-backed Android software.

Apple earlier this year unleashed a new titan into the mobile arena in the form of its hot-selling iPad tablet computers and firms have been racing to field competing devices.