In one of the many interviews given in since the launch of the BlackBerry Z10 towards the end of January this year, we have heard some rather interesting opinions from the CEO, Thorsten Heins. We may agree with some observations, and may disagree with others. One that falls in the latter category is the opinion that tablets will be dead in five years. Yes, you read that right. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said that in an interview at the Milken Institute conference, Los Angeles. ““In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore. Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model.” are his exact words. “In five years, I see BlackBerry to be the absolute leader in mobile computing -- that’s what we’re aiming for,” Heins said. “I want to gain as much market share as I can, but not by being a copycat.”
These words do put the future of the PlayBook tablet in serious doubt. We could actually hear the last of the tablets, at least from BlackBerry, at the BlackBerry Live conference scheduled in Orlando next month. The current offering, the PlayBook, received a rather tepid response in the market. There were reasons for that, the prime ones being the lack of an email and calendar app on the device. Though it must be pointed out that the tablet was sent into the market during the previous management regime’s tenure. The PlayBook runs the QNX operating system, which is the predecessor to BlackBerry 10. The company, at the launch of the Z10, had confirmed that the PlayBook will get the BB10 operating system update sometime this year, and we are still waiting for that.
The company, well at least the CEO, seem fairly confident at the time of Q10 smartphone launch globally. This is the phone that is the typical BlackBerry most users identify as – with a physical QWERTY keyboard. The phone hit stores over the previous weekend in the U.K., and the company is betting on good upgrade numbers. “We have very, very good first signs already after the launch in the U.K.,” Heins said. “This is going into the installed base of more than 70 million BlackBerry users, so we have quite some expectations. We expect several tens of millions of units.”
We are not really sure if this was the time and the place to be discussing the tablet market, particularly when there is no clarity from the company’s side regarding its own tablet lineup. We believe smartphones is what they need to focus on this year, and smartphones only.