Blackberry CEO Predicts Tablets Will Be Obsolete In Five Years

from the i'd-bet-more-on-him-being-obsolete-by-then dept

When Microsoft was preparing its Surface tablet for the market, CEO Steve Ballmer famously -- and ridiculously --- claimed that people didn't really want iPads, but that they craved the Surface much more instead. While you have to respect a CEO believing strongly in his own company's product, there's also something to be said for CEOs who can be realistic. It seems that Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins is going the Ballmer route on tablets. In a move that appears to be an attempt to pre-defend the company's likely exit from the tablet market (which has not gone well for Blackberry), Heins argues not that Blackberry screwed up, but rather than the market for tablets is dying:
“In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore,” Heins said in an interview yesterday at the Milken Institute conference in Los Angeles. “Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model.”
That's the sound of denial that you're hearing. It is actually okay for a CEO to admit that his company screwed up (especially when, as in this case, he can dump some of the blame on its strategy on the previous leadership). But to argue that the need for tablets is going away without a more detailed explanation? That just sounds like rationalizing.

To be clear, I could easily see a world in which a tablet does become obsolete, but it would likely be one where we see a rise of eye-displays like Google Glass or further advances beyond that -- and there's no indication that that is the direction that Heins is taking Blackberry. Instead, this just looks like him covering up for the failure of Blackberry to offer a compelling product by claiming that the whole space is going to go away.

Filed Under: ipad, tablet
Companies: blackberry


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  1. identicon
    New Mexico Mark, 3 May 2013 @ 9:55am

    Re: Re:

    Tablets are way more useful than you portray, even now. However, I see a convergence of sorts where tablets will be the go-between and local storage for other devices.

    In the future I think we'll see some amazing things happening with portable devices, whether they are called tablets or smart phones. Imagine something that looks like a smallish tablet (5-7"), but with little or no bezel so it is about the size of some phones. It would have 24 hour plus battery life and be able to recharge wirelessly. Add the ability to prop it up and have it project a large high-definition laser-driven display on any reasonably light/smooth surface from behind while projecting a keyboard on any flat surface in front. At the same time, it would monitor either on-surface or in-the-air gestures. It would be a pretty powerful computer in its own right, but linked with cloud resources, it would have amazing "back end" resources.

    While in the pocket, it could link to and provide powerful extensions to things like Google glasses, interface with your car electronics (including sound system, of course), or even simple stuff like remembering where you parked or warning you about a weather alert.

    At home it could link to your TV and play high def videos or just use the screen as a monitor if you wanted to get some productive stuff done without having to sit at a desk.

    Of course, it would have all the standard tablet technologies which are finding some surprising uses: GPS, magnetometer, electronic gyro, wi-fi and/or cellular connectivity, bluetooth, etc.

    The cool thing is that all these technologies exist now, but are still being refined and better integrated. I suspect the main reason we haven't seen more of this already is because many of the inventions are buried in the IP swamp, but that's a different story.

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