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SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 27 (Reuters) – Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM) unveiled a tablet computer on Monday that it hopes will leapfrog Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad with its potential for social networking, media publishing and corporate uses.

The tablet, named BlackBerry PlayBook, has a seven-inch (18 cm) screen and dual facing cameras. It has WiFi and Bluetooth but needs to link with a BlackBerry smartphone to access a cellular network.

Shares of RIM spiked 2 percent before paring gains slightly in after-hours trade following the announcement, made at the company’s annual developers’ conference in San Francisco.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company has recently struggled to impress investors and analysts, who mostly shrugged off the August launch of its Torch smartphone and fret about eroding support among its core corporate clientele.

"PlayBook delivers a no-compromises web experience," co-Chief Executive Mike Lazaridis told the developers, who responded with intermittent applause.

RIM expects to ship the device to corporate customers and developers in October and to consumers early in 2011, meaning it misses the consumer holiday buying season.

While RIM is pitching the PlayBook as the evolution of its corporate heritage, its hopes the powerful processor and media offerings lure consumers too.

"They talk enterprise but this will get bought by individuals and used for business," IDC analyst Stephen Drake said from the floor of the presentation.