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BlackBerry CEO Says Tablets Will Be Obsolete in Five Years

By - Source: Bloomberg | B 35 comments
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BlackBerry's CEO seems to have soured on the whole tablet idea.

Not long after the iPad was released, in April of 2010, word got out that RIM was planning on its own entrant into the tablet market. The company officially unveiled the PlayBook as a companion device in October of that same year and the device launched the following year, in April of 2011. Despite the PlayBook's tepid reception, RIM went on to offer further models with upgraded capacities, 3G, and eventually LTE. In February, Thorsten Heins said the company was exploring the idea of another tablet provided it was profitable. However, it seems those explorations have come to an end.

Speaking to Bloomberg, CEO Heins expressed a rather negative opinion of tablets in general. Apparently, Thorsten reckons the tablet is not a good business model.

"In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore," Heins is quoted as saying. "Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model."

Though Thorsten said in January that BlackBerry wasn't getting out of the tablet market, he seems to have made a decision. You just have to wonder what the rest of the industry has to say about his thought that tablets won't be worth having by 2018. Five years is a long time in the tech industry, which is notorious for its rapid progression and refresh cycles, but can a whole form factor really die off by then?

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  • 23 Hide
    Stimpack , May 1, 2013 9:42 AM
    Well, I guess he would know, Blackberry was obsolete 5 years ago.
  • 12 Hide
    Avus , May 1, 2013 9:45 AM
    And this is from a company that sucks at tablet...
Other Comments
  • 23 Hide
    Stimpack , May 1, 2013 9:42 AM
    Well, I guess he would know, Blackberry was obsolete 5 years ago.
  • 12 Hide
    Avus , May 1, 2013 9:45 AM
    And this is from a company that sucks at tablet...
  • 11 Hide
    nukemaster , May 1, 2013 9:49 AM
    At the rate smart phones are getting bigger, maybe tablet will become phone.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , May 1, 2013 9:51 AM
    He may be right, but I don't see touch screen devices going away any time soon. The newest Windows 8 devices all seem to be a combination of a laptop with a full keyboard and a tablet.
    Also, he may be wrong: it isn't like Blackberry is very good at predicting what consumers want. Plus, Apple and their customers don't seem to think that the tablet is simply going to disappear in 5 years.
  • 5 Hide
    wavetrex , May 1, 2013 9:56 AM
    I regret buying mine. Want my 350$ back...
    Useless expensive TOY.
    Can't really do anything productive by touch, too slow to be a gaming platform, the screen is too small (yeah, 10" is small!) for relaxed internet navigation or movie watching.
    I happen to agree with this guy, tablets will eventually die, maybe not in 5 years but they will. StarTrek is wrong, tablets are not the answer.
    Something like the Occulus Rift for gaming/movies or Google Glass (voice commands) for internet, that might be interesting !
  • -7 Hide
    glitch20 , May 1, 2013 9:58 AM
    Well, I guess he would know, Blackberry was obsolete 5 years ago.
    Lol your view is only on the consumer market Blackberry dominated the Enterprise market only now they are getting competetion with android & apple only now they are getting a piece of the Enterprise market pie
  • 3 Hide
    yannigr , May 1, 2013 10:15 AM
    Laptops and tablets are going to become one. Convertibles, hybrids, call them whatever you want. Now if he means that, OK, nothing new here. He is not predicting the future, he is just describing what you can already see today. If he thinks that tablets are going to vanish like netbooks, then he is wrong. Totally.
  • 4 Hide
    bisso , May 1, 2013 10:16 AM
    @wavetrex
    You regret buying yours because you failed to understand what tablets are for.
    Not a single company, but maybe Apple, ever stated that a tablet is a good product for anything productive. It is not a gaming platform either. Yes mobile games are popular, but they don't make tablets for that purpose in mind.
    Tablets are one of the best way to consume media of all type. Ebooks, newspapers, emails, movies, videos. It's nothing vital, but it's a great buy when you want to bring everything you normal do at the same place. For someone like me that read books and newspapers every mornings and afternoons in the metro or train while going to work, this is a blessing.
    If 10 inche is too small for you, while this is totaly subjective and I respect that you might not like it, it's more than enough for most of people, I personally have a Nexus7, and it's just the perfect size for me. I suspect you are the type of guy to have a 60'' TV in his 6 feet long living room ;) .
    For gaming, I hardly see how the Occulus Rift would ever replace the tablet?! Most people play mobile games when they aren't home. Do you plan on bringing a VR headset in the bus? In a waiting room? Must be very conveniant to put the set on and lose contact with the whole world when you are in a public place. Google Glass is good, but hardly fills anything from the tablet. You can't consume media on glasses, at least, not as efficiently.
  • 6 Hide
    nuvon , May 1, 2013 10:22 AM
    I totally disagree with him. I think tablet will become more powerful and versatile.
  • 2 Hide
    digiex , May 1, 2013 10:24 AM
    I hope Blackberry live to see that day.
  • 0 Hide
    headscratcher , May 1, 2013 10:35 AM
    "Tablets are one of the best way to consume media of all type. Ebooks, newspapers, emails, movies, videos."
    Yeah, can't count the number of times I have been sitting on the couch with my girls watching a movie on my large plasma TV and thought to myself: "I wish we were cramped around a little ipad watching this on a 10" screen until the battery dies."
    And I can't count the number of times I have sat at my computer with a real keyboard and mouse responding to email after email and thought to myself: "A smaller screen, cut in half by a virtual keyboard would make me ten times more productive than this crap."
    Or reading a book on my kindle...
    Whatever. Tablets are a compromise from every direction. I think what he might mean is that in a few generations of mobiles, they will have the horse power to do a lot of what a computer does and you won't really need a tablet in between.
  • 0 Hide
    Onus , May 1, 2013 10:36 AM
    If you read "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card, you will see the phenomenal potential that tablets have. Not everyone needs one, but for some people it can be quite a capable device. I also agree with the sentiment that it is a good [visual] media consumption device. The space taken up by a row of bookshelves can now be tossed into a briefcase.
  • 0 Hide
    soundping , May 1, 2013 10:55 AM
    Thorsten Heins has not proven himself to be 'trustworthy' as CEO of BlackBerry. Any predictions he makes should be taken with a grain of salt.
  • 1 Hide
    ojas , May 1, 2013 10:58 AM
    Well, i have similar thoughts. Once hybrids/ultrabooks become good enough for content consumption and production (i.e. don't sacrifice performance yet deliver 12 hours of content consumption, are light-weight, etc) tablets will become increasingly obsolete.
    The post-PC era will arive via core PC companies (Nvidia/Intel/AMD/Mobo manufacturers, case designers, storage companies, etc), not content consumption devices.
    Hell, i wonder if IBM starts the next era of personal computing. That would be sort of cool.
  • 0 Hide
    robochump , May 1, 2013 11:09 AM
    Interesting that this is coming from a company that sold 5 tablets. Denial! I liked BB but for the last few years BB is better at bashing other brands accomplishments than putting out innovative products.
  • 1 Hide
    capt_taco , May 1, 2013 11:09 AM
    The tablet as it stands today will be useless in 5 years. It's really just this smartphone-laptop tweener device that's inferior to both at what they do. Apart from the novelty, I can't think of a reason why I'd want one.
    Having said that, in 5 years, they'll probably be able to make a tablet way more powerful and useful, and also less expensive. Maybe not a tablet as we know it today, but something like it could have a use.
  • 0 Hide
    DeadRam , May 1, 2013 11:10 AM
    Tablet manufacturers say Blackberry is already obsolete.
  • 0 Hide
    kanoobie , May 1, 2013 11:17 AM
    Wishful thinking on his part.
  • 1 Hide
    wing2010 , May 1, 2013 11:34 AM
    Just wondering which one will be obsolete first in 5 years, Tablets or Blackberry!
  • 0 Hide
    ddpruitt , May 1, 2013 12:21 PM
    And touchscreens are a fad, everyone needs a keyboard
    And markets to sell apps are useless because no one will develop for them
    And Smartphones are for business types only
    Blackberry's been behind the curve since 2000, that's why there back to being a niche player
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