Blackberry CEO Doubts Tablet Future

by Matt Klassen on May 1, 2013

Over the next five years Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins expects to see his company become a leader in mobile computing, just apparently not with the help of tablets. In a recent interview with Bloomberg Heins questioned the long term logic of developing tablet technology, stating that in five years there won’t “be a reason to have a tablet anymore.”

These come as bold words from the CEO of a company who’s only attempt at the tablet market, the Playbook, was an instant flop, designed as a complementary technology to Blackberry’s smartphones and lacking all key features that made the company famous to begin with.

So while Heins would have you believe this audacious prediction is wrought from his uncanny insight into the mobile market, given the Blackberry’s checkered history in the tablet sector one might think its more wishful thinking, the company hoping in vain that the rest of the tablets on the market follow the path of its defunct Playbook to the bottom of the bargain bin.

Though there remain the faithful few hoping to see Blackberry reinvent the Playbook as something, well, useful, it appears Heins’ latest comments put the kibosh on such dreams. Heins had previously stated that his company wouldn’t enter the tablet market again unless it could do so profitably, a point he once again made during his Bloomberg interview, adding this time that “he didn’t believe the tablet business was a good one to be in” anyways.

So what are we to make of these comments? While you have to laud Heins for bucking the tablet trend and blazing his own trail towards a future of imagined mobile computing dominance, the words coming from a company resting at the bottom of the mobile heap, having never seen even a glimpse of tablet success, come off as sour grapes, not bold prediction.

In fact, given that Heins’ has proclaimed his company will only reenter the tablet market if it can do so profitably makes me think his company simply has no recourse against the market incumbents, no ideas for how to employ his new Blackberry 10 operating system in the tablet sector, and that to me means a lack of vision, not unique insight.

To wit, with Apple raking in the tablet profits, with Amazon’s Kindle Fire gaining widespread acceptance, and with Samsung targeting the tablet market as a key area for sustainable growth, if one thing has become clear to me over the past several years, its that as tablet technology advances, it too will advance as our default computing platform.

Add to that the additional news that Heins admitted his company was looking into licensing options for Blackberry 10 on the heels of lackluster reception of the company’s Z10 smartphone, and one has to wonder if Blackberry will still be around in five years to see what tablets have become.

But perhaps we’re all wrong about this tablet craze, blinded by our desire for the latest and greatest technology fad. Perhaps all this tablet talk will simply fade away over the next several years as smartphone technology advances…I’m sure Heins is praying that such a future comes about.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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