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A long time ago, tablets came and went, and we all went along with our lives like nothing changed. Some people may have missed those old, thick, heavy "portable" devices of yesteryear, but as our laptops got thinner and lighter, much of those emotions probably turned to love for other devices. But, then Apple decided to drop the iPad, and everything changed.

People who may not have remembered that tablets existed once before were quick to say that Apple invented the tablet market. Others, though, calmly pointed out that Apple simply reinvented the market, and made it into a profitable venture. So it would make sense that pretty much every other major manufacturer out there focused on the mobile market would want to jump on the tablet bandwagon, and create their own device to rake in the dough, right?

You know how that turned out. I'm not going to get into whether or not Android-based tablets are lucrative. I'm not even going to talk about Windows 8 tablets. Instead, I want to focus on another company that gave it a real shot a couple years ago, but their efforts just didn't pan out. I want to talk about BlackBerry, formerly known as Research In Motion. 

It was under that previous title that they released their first tablet device, the BlackBerry PlayBook. The tablet itself, from a hardware perspective, wasn't terrible by any means. It had a 7-inch build, it was relatively lightweight, and the display wasn't complete garbage. On the software front, plenty of people praised the QNX software, even if it reminded many of those same people of Palm's webOS. However, the device ran into issues when it launched without necessary applications like *email* out of the box.

In the end, the BlackBerry PlayBook didn't do very well. So the company moved on. Now they've got a new name, a pair of new devices (the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10), and a new mobile operating system (BlackBerry 10) that they are banking their future on. Of course, one can't stop looking towards the future, and what may be coming down the pipe. Or, in this case, what's *not* coming down the pipe.

BlackBerry's Chief Executive Officer, Thorsten Heins, had quite the quote from his time at the Milken Institute conference in Los Angeles yesterday. He was talking about tablets, and he had this to say:

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

Well, okay then. So, in five years, tablets are going to be relatively pointless, and we shouldn't expect to see any manufacturer releasing a device in that specific category. What's more, apparently they aren't a good business model.

Does this seem to you to be more of a reflection, rather than a general statement about the mobile industry? I've watched on Twitter as the general sentiment regarding Heins' statement is simply one of, "They don't have an answer for tablets." And, based on the PlayBook's lifespan, I imagine that sentiment wouldn't be too far off.

Five years is a long time in the tech world. There is no doubt about that. And, well, anything is possible in that amount of time. But I don't think Heins believes tablets are just going to phase out, or people are going to stop buying them because they suddenly realize they don't want them anymore. I believe Heins is seeing the future he wants to see because he believes BlackBerry will be shaping that future. Essentially, there won't be tablets in five years because he believes BlackBerry will be the leader of the mobile space in that span of time, and they won't have tablets.

I believe this is reinforced by the interview Heins had towards the end of March of this year, when he pointed out that our smartphones are powerful enough to run our laptops, and hinted at that's the direction BlackBerry could be going. And, to be the leader of the mobile industry, that would mean trying to take over the other markets. So, have our smartphones powering our laptops, and therefore you don't need tablets anymore.

If there was any speculation about Thorsten Heins' plans for BlackBerry, and whether or not he has the drive to at least *try* and make BlackBerry succeed in the mobile industry, I think we can put that to rest by now. He's got an aggressive plan, one where his company is *leading the mobile space* in five years. Like I said earlier, that's a long time and anything is possible, but obviously BlackBerry has a pretty tall hill to climb before they can even be considered a contender for first place.

Will that happen in five years? Moreover, will we no longer be using tablets in five years? Do you think BlackBerry will be shaping the overall mobile experience in five years? Or will the company be still struggling around that time? Or gone completely? Let me know what you think.


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41 Reactions to this post

"BlackBerry's CEO doesn't see a bright future for tablets, but do you think we'll be using them in five years?"


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Lenn Liggins If you're not making a good one of course you would say that and they aren't making a good one.
Trinity Kolarova Hoodrich tablets are getting stronger and high in demand due to android 4.0 being on it and quadcore chips being installed in them plus better multiouch screens and 8 hr batterys so BB is wrong!
Tim Bunting I actually find it easier to type on glass and the autocorrect makes things much quicker but I guess it's down to personal preference. I seem to remember blackberry making the same comments as windows did a few years back and now windows have been forced to embrace change. As long as people like convenience tablets are here to stay and I don't think that will change any time soon. Let the bitching commence....
Curtis Owens Tablets are nowhere near as effcient for typing out lots of information as a keyboard on a laptop or PC. Just no comparison.
Steven Pereira Wowsers...folks! Relax!
David March Phonedog...weak...but consistent.
Rich Field Phonedog please read and stop posting bs articles taken out of context its no better than Detwiler Fenton making up lies we all know how much those who run your site are Android fanboys. http://crackberry.com/i-highly-doubt-thorsten-heins-thinks-tablet-market-will-die?cb_mobile=0
Rich Field @Tyler please do your research at the moment you're just adding to the uninformed nonsense already out there. Over 55% of BlackBerry 10 users are coming from iOS and Android platforms. QNX is already built into many cars already. If you weren't already aware many governments, militaries, businesses and heavy communicators such as myself who use them all the time. Don't be surprised if you see a large order from the US Department of Defense since Knox is delayed and they've already bought a bunch of iphones. BES 10 is the most secure of any platform for work security and can accommodate other platforms.
Rich Field Too many idiots in this thread. None who have ever even used a z10 or q10 you're talking out of your ass. To those who say they're dead go look at their financial statements.
Nikola Karovic windows tablets before this era sucked, now We have android
Mark Belkowski people need to learn to use spellcheck.
Scott Weiner In a few years there will be no tablets. With flexible screen technology your phone will be able to expand to a tablet size.
Chris Baham Exactly. Had to keep that little track ball for about 10 years too long.
Killafiz Lol hell yes. If I didn't have bills a wife and kid to support I'd probably have more tablets than the nexus 7 and ipad. Although for when I'm home I'm either on my phone or laptop/desktop.
Tyler Hargett @Dave, where is it that Blackberry is selling more units than Apple or any Android phone? Blackberry as a fraction of the apps iDevices and Android devicea have. Blackberry went off rhe map for a while just to work on there OS but yet the only ones that have them are the Blackberry fanboys. Half of the Blackberry apps barely work with the Z10. I dont have to have own one when AT&T has working diplays sitting out to get ones hands on to get the feel of plus, when you have a sales rep approach you and tell you thats the worsr selling phone they have and they never once asked what we were there for. So next time, whenbyou come at someone, make sure your statement doesn't seem like a child typed it and have some what of some type of evdience to support whatever your trying to get across unless you find joy and humor in looking ignorant.
Mars Ray The Z10 is a great phone, when they put Bb10 on the playbook it will be great too. Thor just sees that Apple has the Tablet game in a choke hold.... sad because my PlayBook can do everything the ipad does and more but for less than half the price... Minus some apps that I would not use anyway. Bb10 tablet is going to be great.
Ian Walker Yeah because apple has not sold many of those ipad things have they? Get real people love tablets and that trend is not gonna end anytime soon, and as they get more powerful they will become even more desireable. I mean even a lot of the new windows eight laptops are tablet hybrids
Dave Bourque Load of BS lol. You've never used the phone.
Jason Lozano Aways with tablets, and In with bigger phones like my Note 2!
Anthony Omeka I own a blackberry z10 and a 16 gb blackberry PlayBook. The z10 has been updated twice. And now running very smoothly. My PlayBook came with os 1.0. An update brought it to os 2.0. As at now the PlayBook is one of the most effective tools I personally us for online activities media playback. Most of the criticisms of the z10 are coming from those who have not used the device and probably cannot even afford it. BlackBerry is a company that a lot of people predicted will die soon, but still going strong. Don't make comments on something you know nothing about.
Matthew Swanson Oh yes .... nobody should take tech advice from a company like BlackBerry as they lay on their deathbed as it is..
Jerimiah Reece So Blackberry flops on it's crappy tablet, and the CEO tries to play it off as if Tablets are a flop in general?
Marcus Samual Winchester Thirsted is just bitter that the Playbook went up in flames. The tablet market will only continue to grow as consumer look for portable devices to consume entertainment. What angers me is that they are making these bold claims and claiming they are going to be huge in 5 years time, but they have not shown how they will revolutionise the industry. They're just another arrogant company. And he really thinks the Q10 is going to sell 10s of millions of units within the year. what is this, 2009. They have been irrelevant and too lazy to act against the competition, and their great weapon that is BBM is just another message client amongst Whatsapp, Skype, Messageme and other data based clients on mobile devices, all of which are cross platform unlike BBM. And to add insult, they price what are really just mediocre devices at prices equivalent to leading smartphones like the One, Xperia Z, GS4, iPhone 5 and Lumia 920, all devices that trounce Blackberries effort. At this rate, Windows Phone will go No3 in market share.
Lance Johnson I dont see a bright future for Crapberry :))
Doug Springer A guy running a company thats both irrelevant and living on borrowed time due to poor business practices is making a statement proving how out of touch he is...
Nick Miller Eh. I guess for certain people. I have sold my ipad off and just recently upgraded my Macbook pro. I don't see a need for one other than drawing ideas out. Maybe an iPad mini or low powered iPad is in my future.
Mark Belkowski Thats becuase blackberry tablets suck.
Michael A Leonard Clearly blackberry is the company to look to for technology predictions... :)
Sheila Ellis Bless his heart, he's got issues, lol. Tablets will be around either as Tablets or Phablets. It is gargantuan laptops that will fade. Cloud storage, portable storage and streaming make it easy to ditch a clunky laptop in favor of a Tablet. But Blackberry shelf life is what he should concern himself with...
Jason Allen Lucas Regardless of Blackberries down fall, in reality hes right...Tablets really are not practical, if it wasnt for Apple pushing the Ipad on the market so hard, in reality i doubt tablets would have much of a footprint. Dont get me wrong I agree they have their place and use, but from a consumer standpoint its an over priced toy, just like everything Apple makes. People may call me an Apple hater for saying that and i really dont care, Apple is a very innovative company but tablet devices from a technology versus cost and deployment standpoint are really not practical.
Chris Baham He mixed up his comments. I think he meant to say that Blackberry won't be around in 5 years.
CeeGii Borels jesus so bitter...
Romi Max I don't really see future for BlackBerry.. let alone their tablets
Rich Field So unless there is a profit to be made Blackberry won't be making more tablets. Apple already has the lions share of the market with their tablet anyhow.
Tyler Hargett Because the CEO has if figured out with BlackBerry. Any one played with the Z10? Phone sucks just like the previous models of BlackBerry. It looks like a iPhone 5 with BlackBerry OS. I've heard more people are taking the phones back because the OS sucks as well as the phone in general.
Rich Field He said its hard to break into the tablet market and there isn't really a huge market demand that hasn't already been accounted for. There is no real new revenue streams to be gained from the tablet market.
William Hall Dude, they use them in Star Trek which is like 700 years from now.....he knows nothing.
Joshua Pingley Thorsten doesn't know what the hell he is talking about. BB10 is flopping so hard it's not even humorous. He needs to just shut his arrogant mouth.
Steve Williams yeah because that guy is so smart...




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