BlackBerry CEO Thorstein Heins sees no future for tablets

BlackBerry doesn’t have a great track record with predicting the future. The company may have dominated the US smartphone space a decade ago thanks to support for corporate networks and phones with QWERTY keyboards. But BlackBerry has been struggling in recent years to keep up with Apple and Google in the mobile space.

So I’m going to take a comment to Bloomberg from BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins about the future of tablets with a grain of salt. But he doesn’t think “there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore” in five years.

One thing that does seem likely from that statement is that we shouldn’t hold our breath waiting for the company to release a successor to the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Update: Heins has clarified that we could eventually see another BlackBerry tablet-like device, but it might not be a standalone device like the PlayBook. It could look more like the Asus Padfone, which is an Android smartphone with an optional tablet dock which lets you use a larger touchscreen display and a bigger batter.

Blackberry PlayBook 4G LTE

RIM released the PlayBook a few years ago, back when the company thought people would pay $499 for a 7 inch tablet that didn’t run the same OS as its phones, or as any other tablet on the market.

There weren’t many apps available for the platform at the time, and while the PlayBook offered a great multitasking system and a decent web browser, it wasn’t until the company added limited support for Android apps that we started to see a great number of apps for the platform.

These days you can pick up a 64GB PlayBook for as little as $200, or a refurbished 16GB model for about half that price.

BlackBerry recently introduced the BlackBerry 10 operating system for smartphones, and the company is focusing heavily on promoting its two latest handsets, the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10. It makes sense for the company to push the products it has right now instead of shifting attention to other devices.

But you have to wonder whether Heins is only predicting doom for tablets due to the company’s lack of success with its first tablet, or if he’s really looking ahead toward a future without tablets.

As phones become more capable, wearable devices start to supplement the way we interact with technology, computer screens become flexible, and the lines between notebooks and tablets continue to blur, it’s not hard to imagine a future where the iPads and Transformer Pads of today are no longer necessary.

But it’s at least as likely that they’ll evolve into new types of devices as it is that they’ll fade away like a fad that’s no longer in fashion.

via SlashGear

  • ilbalta

    Tablet CEO iPad sees no future for BlackBerry.

  • Renee Auclair

    Famous last words. Reminds me of Nietzsche’s comment about God (for the record, God 1, Nietzshe 0), or Ken Olsen’s (of erstwhile Digital Equipment Corp. fame) comment about PCs (why would anyone want a PC, or something to that effect, PCs 1, Ken Olsen 0).

    • Linuxium

      That’s why Schrödinger had a cat!

  • Vader

    I find his lack of vision most disturbing….

    • CyberGusa

      Depends what he means, tablets can become redundant once we reach the point of devices that can change shape as needed…

      Flexible displays for example could have a phone that expands to a tablet when needed for example.

      While Google Glass, and other virtualization technology brings into question the need to actually have a physical interface.

      Predicting the future is always questionable but it’s usually not what everyone thinks it will be…

  • Arrdee

    The fox who longed for grapes, beholds with painThe tempting clusters were too high to gain;Grieved in his heart he forced a careless smile,And cried ,‘They’re sharp and hardly worth my while.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sam-Curcio/100001739982933 Sam Curcio

    Blackberry had the market cornered in mobile devices, but it dropped the ball when the tablet went viral. Heins may not see a future for the tablet in his company, but the device will continue be promoted elsewhere. Where does he plan to take Blackberry? Maybe the company is releasing some other technology–or waiting for someone else to do so. Either way, don’t drop the ball again, or you may be out of the game.

  • 1stkorean

    Looks like it is time for Heins to go.

  • NeedName

    Guess it all depends on how you define “tablet.” A 7″ smartphone isn’t necessarily a “tablet” ;)

    Seriously, I can understand his point. . . to a point. By and large your smartphone will become the center of everything — you’ll be docking it wirelessly to peripherals wherever you go in the not too distant future. And as far as business, tablets by and large aren’t and never will be the main computing devices, that I can agree with.

    Honestly, if I have a decent sized smartphone why would I want a tablet? Especially when my smartphone easily “docks” to my HDTV and monitors. Do I really feel the need to be confined to a ~9″ screen that I have to constantly hold and stroke — let the jokes begin!

    • John Morris

      Nope. We could have that future if the carriers would permit it. We could have HAD that future a decade ago. The PAN (Personal Area Network) was one of the prime motivators for BT tech. But the carriers refused to play along, wanting instead to charge by the device.

      Imagine that alternate world, where you carry a tiny phone that lets you talk if you need to but mostly sits in your pocket and acts as your gateway to the carrier for voice and data. Then you would have whatever access devices you want, headsets, larger displays, storage, computing, laptops, whatever; all talking amongst themselves. You could add, upgrade, retire any part of your PAN at any time without worrying about your contract renewal date with the exception of your phone and without the cruft of a smartphone it would be cheap enough you wouldn’t even care about having a subsidized phone anyway.

      Instead of having to act as bankers, floating loans to subsidize all encompasing smartphones, they could concentrat on building the best network.

  • DarthAndroid

    Says the same man that thinks they’ll sell millions of Z10’s. HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA