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4/30/2013
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BlackBerry CEO: Tablets Have No Future

Thorsten Heins says he doesn't think anyone will still be using tablets five years from now.

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BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins recently offered a baffling perspective on the tablet market: He thinks it is a dead-end business. In fact, he sees tablets going away entirely before the end of the decade.

"In five years I don't think there'll be a reason to have a tablet anymore," said Heins in an interview with Bloomberg. "Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model."

Heins has already shot down reports that BlackBerry itself would build a new tablet this year, or at any time in the future, unless there was a good business case for it. Heins said tablets aren't a good business for BlackBerry to be in. At the moment, he's right. BlackBerry needs, more than anything, to focus on resurrecting sales of its BlackBerry smartphones. So far, sales of the Z10 have been lukewarm in the U.S., though the Q10 appears to be seeing solid early sales, at least at one store in the U.K.

[ Where do the new BlackBerry models fit on this spectrum: 10 Best And Worst Cellphones Of All Time? ]

Heins' stance on tablets is the complete opposite of that of his predecessors, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, who championed the BlackBerry Playbook as the best tablet on the market, even though it didn't offer email at launch. The PlayBook is one of BlackBerry's most visible failures. It's understandable that Heins might feel burned by tablets, but he is either ignoring or turning a blind eye toward the latest research on the tablet market.

Strategy Analytics reports sales of 40.6 million tablets during the first quarter of 2013 alone, which represents year-over-year growth of 117%. At this pace, tablet vendors are on track to sell more than 160 million tablets by the end of the year. They'll sell more if the growth rate continues to climb.

Apple, the one company that has done the most to damage BlackBerry's position in the enterprise, sold 19.5 million iPads in the first three months of the year.

How many BlackBerrys did Thorsten's company sell during the first quarter? A hair over one million? Maybe. Thorsten has an answer for that, too.

"In five years, I see BlackBerry to be the absolute leader in mobile computing -- that's what we're aiming for," said Heins. "I want to gain as much market share as I can, but not by being a copycat."

That assumes the company sells enough Z10s and Q10s to stay afloat that long. The Z10 hit world markets in early February and reached the U.S. in March. The Q10 hit Canada and the U.K. last week, and reaches the U.S. toward the end of May. BlackBerry needs the Q10, its QWERTY-equipped smartphone, to sell like gangbusters to stave off solid market entries such as the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4.

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Dw@ll
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Dw@ll,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/30/2013 | 3:26:03 PM
re: BlackBerry CEO: Tablets Have No Future
Brave man to call that .. Who knows maybe he's right!!
lacertosus
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lacertosus,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/30/2013 | 3:37:30 PM
re: BlackBerry CEO: Tablets Have No Future
Any sound and semi-intelligent business leader looks at statistics and analytics to make strategic business decisions. Obviously the numbers show that tablets are in for the long haul as they are out selling PCs. Reckless remarks like this ensures BB demise
C6Silver05
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C6Silver05,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/30/2013 | 4:58:41 PM
re: BlackBerry CEO: Tablets Have No Future
There is a disappointing lack of detail here. Predicting the end of tablets with no information as to why isn't very informative. Saying you want to be the "absolute leader" in mobile but not indicating how also is very hollow. I'd like to be the world's richest man within the next decade....so what? Whether I agree or not is one thing, but at least tell us why these statements are being made and what the company is planning to realistically backup its words.
TI_Master
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TI_Master,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/30/2013 | 5:52:33 PM
re: BlackBerry CEO: Tablets Have No Future
I suspect what he was actually getting at, is that phones are becoming so powerful that he sees a future where you basically hook your phone up to a keyboard/monitor on your desk and it becomes a workstation, ie, the phone becomes a highly portable workstation. Tablets are sort of the in-between, less convenient than a smartphone, but much more portable than full blown computers. I can see why he would conclude that, given the processing power of some of the latest smartphones, it makes sense that you'd someday just plug one up to a screen/kbd for serious work, and then take it with you and have your whole environment on hand wherever you go instead of managing multiple environments and syncing and such.
I'm not sure tablets are going away per se anymore than the desktop computer is going away, but they may soon get squeezed by so called phablets, and by smartphones with HDMI jacks and Bluetooth docks.
tv22
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tv22,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/30/2013 | 5:54:07 PM
re: BlackBerry CEO: Tablets Have No Future
One is reminded of Ken Olsen saying "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home."
burn0050bb
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burn0050bb,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/30/2013 | 6:12:14 PM
re: BlackBerry CEO: Tablets Have No Future
Blackberry has such a good track record predicting the market for the last 6 years. And their tablet was an utter failure.
Guest
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Guest,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/30/2013 | 6:25:03 PM
re: BlackBerry CEO: Tablets Have No Future
Blackberry is feeling the competition breathing down its neck. Remarks like his won't change reality. Executing an effective change management will.
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
4/30/2013 | 6:44:59 PM
re: BlackBerry CEO: Tablets Have No Future
It's not the business model of the manufacturer that matters. It's the consumption desire of the consumer that counts. U.S. auto manufacturers learned the hard way that they couldn't ignore the small car market because they couldn't be profitable at it. They had to learn how to be profitable in the category. No excuses. Dodge Dart, Chevy Cruz, Ford Fiesta. To be a world-class player, you have to meet every customer need.
ANON1242905689517
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ANON1242905689517,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/30/2013 | 7:07:57 PM
re: BlackBerry CEO: Tablets Have No Future
A 12 inch digitizer screen with touch, wide angle back lit, 9 hour battery life, built in 4G always connected at reasonable rates, less than half inch thick with keyboard running a full Windows OS with at least 2ghz and 6GB ram is what EVERYONE will have in 5 years. Add to it bluetooth earpiece for phone calls and voice commands. This is what some will have in 5 years and EVERYONE in eight. Its the phone that will be the speciality item.
ANON1242905689517
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ANON1242905689517,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/30/2013 | 7:12:18 PM
re: BlackBerry CEO: Tablets Have No Future
The Blackberry tablet was a failure because one of the main uses of Tablets is to check email - shipping without this shows how agile product development is sometimes just plain stupid.
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