With the success of the iPad, the global uptake in the number of tablet computers and the urgency that almost every manufacturer on the planet has felt to create its own 7-to-10 inch slate, you’d think the last thing the boss of any mobile company would be talking about is the death of tablets. Well, you’d be wrong. BlackBerry’s Thorsten Heins apparently thinks the gadgets won’t see out the decade.
Bloomberg reported today that the CEO doesn’t put much stock in the trend, quoting him as saying “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,” he said.
So that statement alone makes it pretty unlikely that BlackBerry will be announcing an update to its PlayBook tablet. While Heins doesn’t rule it out completely, he says that the company won’t just blithely imitate a competitor’s product in future anyway. “In five years, I see BlackBerry to be the absolute leader in mobile computing — that’s what we’re aiming for,” he said. “I want to gain as much market share as I can, but not by being a copycat.”
While it’s no secret BlackBerry’s foray into the tablet market wasn’t exactly a success — it was eventually forced to run massive sales to get rid of unsold stock, and gave away PlayBooks to developers in the run up to the launch of BlackBerry 10 — Heins’ statements are raising questions. After all, analyst predictions and recent research suggests that tablets may be largely to blame for the shrinking desktop PC market and the growth rates of tablet sales are immense — especially in emerging markets. A recent report from the IDC suggests tablet volume grew by 111% in developing nations 2012 and global tablet shipments will increase by a factor of three by 2017.
While we don’t know the context of the interview and the statements Heins made, they aren’t inspiring much confidence in the leader of the convalescent tech giant. The words “BlackBerry CEO” trended briefly worldwide on Twitter today, as users took the opportunity to state their disbelief, laugh and question exactly what Heins may be thinking.