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Blackberry Portables

BlackBerry CEO: Tablet Market Is Dying 564

Posted by Soulskill
from the wishful-thinking dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins believes that tablets will be dead by 2018. 'In five years I don't think there'll be a reason to have a tablet anymore,' he told an interviewer at the Milken Institute conference in Los Angeles, according to Bloomberg. 'Maybe a big screen in your workplace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model.' That may come as a surprise to Apple, Google, Amazon and Samsung, all of which have built significant tablet businesses over the past few years. Research firm Strategy Analytics suggested in a research note earlier this month that the global tablet market hit 40.6 million units shipped in the first quarter of 2013, a significant rise from the 18.7 million shipped in the same quarter last year. So why would Heins offer such a pessimistic prediction when everyone else — from the research firms to the tablet-makers themselves — seems so full-speed-ahead? It's easy to forget sometimes that BlackBerry has its own tablet in the mix: the PlayBook, which was released to quite a bit of fanfare in early 2011 but failed to earn iPad-caliber sales. Despite that usefulness to developers, however, the PlayBook has become a weak contender in the actual tablet market. If Heins is predicting that market's eventual demise, it could be a coded signal that he intends to pull BlackBerry out of the tablet game, focusing instead on smartphones. It wouldn't be the first radical move the company's made in the past year."
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BlackBerry CEO: Tablet Market Is Dying

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  • I agree (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DogDude (805747) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @03:31PM (#43593735) Homepage
    I agree completely. Tablets are a fad. The form factor is terrible and the functionality is lacking. I think that most people are going to continue using phones and laptops.
  • by mkraft (200694) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @03:33PM (#43593761)

    BlackBerry seems incapable of judging where there market is going. That's why they were blindsided when the iPhone came out. They still had a chance to adapt, but they pretty much pretended like the iPhone didn't exist. Even after Android came out they had their heads in the sand. By the time they finally woke up, it was too late.

  • Hahahaha! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @03:33PM (#43593763) Journal

    From the company bleeding money for the last three years because it has absolutely no idea what customers want, comes the grand declaration "Customers won't want tablets."

    Maybe if Blackberry had released a tablet that had full access to the Android market, they might have sold some. My daughter got a playbook from her boyfriend's parents a few months ago, and while the hardware is nothing to sneeze at, the fact that you couldn't even install the Netflix app was a revelation to me as to just how clueless RIM/Blackberry really is.

  • Three words... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alanshot (541117) <[rurick] [at] [techondemand.net]> on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @03:33PM (#43593771)

    Screen Real Estate.

    There is some stuff you Just. Cant Do. On a phone. The screen is too small.

    IF his idea that phones will be a little bigger, do we really want to look like an idiot walking around with a giant brick to our head? Or have to wory about always using a bluetooth earpiece? And where will you stick that larger than you prefer phone?

    IMHO an iPhone 5 is starting to get a little too big. The larger samsungs are even worse.

  • Re:I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @03:34PM (#43593777)

    Who wants an automobile? The form factor is terrible; the tiny wheels can hardly get through a foot of mud or ford a stream. You have to fill it up with "gas" constantly, instead of simply letting the horses wander around in your pasture.

    No, there's simply no future in the automobile, once people try them out and find how limiting they really are.

  • Re:I agree (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @03:42PM (#43593897)

    It may be news to most nerds, but the vast majority of electronics purchasers use gadgets purely for content consumption, not creation.

  • Re:I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mmcxii (1707574) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @03:45PM (#43593933)
    The major issue is that tablets are great content consumption devices for watching video or reading but piss poor content creation devices.

    This is like comparing the number of people who own music versus the number of people who play music. "Content creation" hasn't been on the radar of most people since pre-recorded media has been made available at a good price point. I remember being about 12 or 13 years old with a Commodore 64. Of the 6 other kids I knew at the time who owned computers about 5 of us could code simple games and such. That's roughly 85%. How many kids can code today? The difference is that for a 12 year old pre-recorded media was too expensive and my parents weren't shelling out 20 dollars for the latest SSI title every other week.
  • Re: I agree (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tysonedwards (969693) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @03:50PM (#43593979)
    I've got news for you... Most Android manufacturers stop providing updates the day their devices hit the market. If your sole concern is that yoy want a tablet that is going to have updates for years to come, there are a variety of Windows slates on the market.
  • by BitZtream (692029) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @03:53PM (#43594017)

    In my experience, the only people who make those sort of statements were either paid a metric fuckton to do such a project by a tablet maker so they can get some news ... and people that are so bad at 'creating content' that the tablet being a shitty way to do it is going to have no measurable effect on their output.

  • Re:I agree (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @03:54PM (#43594031)

    I love how all the nerds who creamed their jeans over netbooks and chromebooks are in such a rush to declare tablets dead on arrival.

    The difference between netbooks/chromebooks & a tablet? One has a keyboard attached... one uses a bluetooth keyboard.

  • by skine (1524819) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @03:57PM (#43594069)

    Of course the tablet market isn't dying. It could possibly be described as a bubble at the moment, but that doesn't mean that that sales are going to disappear within the next five years.

    The issue is more that tablets are essentially as powerful as they'll need to be for the next five years, if not longer. They're designed to be highly portable devices that can access the internet and be used as ebook readers, but are large enough to be easier to read from than a smartphone. Aside from the people who need to have the new shiny, most people who own or are thinking of buying a tablet will only upgrade when it can no longer handle their needs, much like Windows XP computers.

  • Re:I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @03:59PM (#43594085) Homepage

    Who wants an automobile? The form factor is terrible; the tiny wheels can hardly get through a foot of mud or ford a stream. You have to fill it up with "gas" constantly, instead of simply letting the horses wander around in your pasture.

    No, there's simply no future in the automobile, once people try them out and find how limiting they really are.

    I heard something extremely similar in a discussion recently about the Tesla Model S, and it was in all seriousness. "foot of mud" and "ford a stream" was replaced with "drive a 1500 mile road trip" and "pull a trailer", replace "gas" with "charging". There was totally no way they could possibly have a future once people found out how limiting they really are. You can people said what you just wrote in full seriousness back in the day.

  • I disagree (Score:4, Insightful)

    by asmkm22 (1902712) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @04:06PM (#43594139)

    I think tablets are fine for the niche they fill. They make great little consumption devices that are somewhat inexpensive, and handle web content just fine. I have a few sitting around at home that we can just pick up and check email with, or my kid can go watch netflix on the bed, or whatever. They certainly aren't going to be replaces computers for anyone but the most casual of consumers, but they do fill a technology gap very nicely.

    One thing that he hints at, which I agree with, is that tablets aren't going to change too much in the next five years. Overall sales will level off once everyone has one, and I do suspect the wifi-only versions will be the primary sellers after that. Prices will probably settle in the 100-200 dollar range, at most, with plenty of $50 options. They'll basically take the same route that MP3 players took 10 years ago.

  • Re:I agree (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @04:09PM (#43594185)

    The difference between netbooks/chromebooks & a tablet? One has a keyboard attached... one uses a bluetooth keyboard.

    And one has a touch centric interface and the other does not, and one sucks for content creation and the other does not...

  • by Ironhandx (1762146) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @04:15PM (#43594239)

    You've got it nailed.

    Those that have a first gen tablet may upgrade to reduce lag, but everyone thats buying one right now? Its entirely possible they won't need to upgrade except in cases of breaking the existing one for 5+ years. You're going to hit saturation similar to whats happening with desktop and laptop PCs right now, except I believe the total saturation number is much lower than for PCs and we're going to hit that number much sooner because the days of needing to upgrade a tablet every 2-3 years... never existed in the first place.

  • by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @04:17PM (#43594271)

    I disagree, unless you're plugging a keyboard into it, they are piss poor as a means of creating content. At which point, you have a device that's barely any smaller than a laptop and quite a bit slower.

  • by erice (13380) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @04:26PM (#43594391) Homepage

    I think he's right. Have you noticed that phones are getting bigger and tablets are getting smaller? I think phones are about to eat tablets in the same way they ate other stand along devices. People don't want two devices. They want one.

    Personally, I hate the idea.

  • Re:I agree (Score:4, Insightful)

    by raygundan (16760) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @04:40PM (#43594571) Homepage

    "Content Creation" doesn't have to be anything as elaborate as coding or painting or musical composition. Your post and mine are both "content creation," and I don't know about you, but typing more than a couple of sentences in a row on a tablet touchscreen gets old quick.

    I don't personally think tablets are going away, but I think the market may shrink going forward for a number of reasons. When the iPad first appeared, they did three amazing things that laptop users immediately noticed: they turned on instantly, they were small and light, and they had high-quality screens. Tablet UI considerations aside, those were areas in which the tablet absolutely trashed existing laptop hardware in user experience. If you just wanted to read or watch a movie, and you had a laptop and a tablet within reach, the tablet would get you there faster.

    Fast-forward to now, and laptops have caught up. SSDs killed the boot advantage, and new form factors made possible by the same techniques that worked in the tablets have closed the size gap. If I can get an 11" laptop that does "real computer" stuff, boots instantly, and runs quietly and comfortably in my lap... I don't really have a use-case for the tablet anymore.

    In short, it was worth the inconvenience of trying to type on a touchscreen when tablets had so many other advantages-- but those advantages have all either gone away or shrunk considerably. I imagine some folks will probably reconsider their tablet. Not all, but some.

  • Re:I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jerk (38494) <cherbert&gmail,com> on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @04:42PM (#43594599)

    Yet nowhere in his reply did he even mention Apple. He may be an "Apple fanboi", but that post doesn't smack of one to me.

    I also disagree that tablets are a fad. I owned a netbook for about two months before it was sold because it was nearly unusable. Everything about it was horrible: 600px high screen resolution made web browsing laughable, near-unusable trackpad (this was a Dell, others may be better/worse), the small keyboard made text input a chore (especially the punctuation keys), and so-so battery life.

    Tablets are much more usable *to me* than my netbook ever was. My first tablet was much more pleasurable to read webpages on (in fact, I still prefer using Pulse to keep up with the tech sites I read every day to using multiple tabs in a browser), and its text input was easier because the soft keys were larger than the keys on the netbook. Yes, it lacked tactile feedback, but I was used to that within a week. I don't usually hammer out many multi-paragraph emails or forum comments on it, but I have no problem doing so, if necessary.

    I'm not saying they're for everyone, but for me my tablet is my go-to device for 95% of my non work-related "computer" usage (the other 5% is a custom-built computer for gaming and photo editing.) I've even stopped carrying my laptop (a sub-3lb ultra-book) to and from work everyday.

  • Re:I agree (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @05:09PM (#43594939)

    one sucks for content creation and the other does not

    Which one would that be? In my experience, they both pretty much suck for content creation.

  • by node 3 (115640) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @05:16PM (#43595001)

    The difference between netbooks/chromebooks & a tablet? One has a keyboard attached... one uses a bluetooth keyboard.

    That and 10" netbooks tended to be cheaper than a 10" tablet, a Bluetooth keyboard, and a case to keep them together. And netbooks shipped with an operating system that supports tiled or overlapping windows, unlike tablets whose operating systems inherit the all maximized all the time window management policy from the smartphones that they were originally designed for. And when you do need a more precise pointing device, there's more of a culture of using an external mouse with a netbook than with a tablet.

    And netbooks got their asses handed to them by the iPad. Why do you think that is? Is it because everyone is stupid and will come to their senses (i.e., somehow come to agree with you instead of having their own preferences)? Or is it because the things that you decry are things that they either don't mind, or specifically prefer?

    Honestly, nine times out of ten, if a nerd makes nothing but technical claims against some product, it's almost always guaranteed to be a success. That's because the things we care about are outside of the norm.

    A lot of geeks seemed to think that because computers went from nerd to commonplace over the past two decades, that means people all became geeks themselves. They didn't. Most people don't actually want computers (or tablets or phones, etc.) for the same reasons we do. Yes, there's some overlap, but the things that stand out to us do not stand out to them.

    People like you often complain that the iPad is a "consumption device". Well, guess what? Most people want to consume on their devices. That's why they have them. Consume and communicate, and engage in "lite" forms of productions (i.e., share photos with Instagram filters). They don't want a mouse. They don't want Blender 3D. They don't want gcc and vim.

    It's hilarious to watch geeks extoll the virtues of the netbook over the tablet as an argument that the iPad is a fad, but the netbook is the real product people want. Every quarter, tens of millions of people prove that assertion ass-backwards. I always thought geeks were supposed to be smart, so why do so many of them have such a hard time noticing this contradiction? A contradiction that is easily remedied by a simple adjustment of a few basic assumptions?

  • Re:I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by node 3 (115640) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @05:18PM (#43595019)

    SuperKendall is an Apple fanboi and will make any semi-plausible argument to support his master. Don't take his arguments seriously, he's just here to sell things.

    Funny how a person who's views fit reality (that people prefer iPads over netbooks) is a "fanboy" that shouldn't be taken seriously.

    No, actually it's not funny. It's sad, to be quite honest. Why are Slashdot nerds so angry and hateful?

  • Re:I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by node 3 (115640) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @05:26PM (#43595119)

    I am a technologist. You are an idiot. I serve no master save myself; you serve any master that will have you.

    There's something mentally amiss with a large swath of the population here. They call others "fanbois" (with the extra-gay 'i' for good measure), but all they do is spew hatred for the things they don't like.

    We're all supposed to be nerds here. Android is awesome, Linux is awesome. But so is Windows and Macs and iPads and all that. And if you happen to simply like something that is not sanctioned by the holy order of a minority here on Slashdot, you're the "fanboy"!

    Nerd/geek is supposed to be all about being excited about tech (or other things, but quite commonly tech). I don't understand why all the negativity. I get that there's going to be rivalries to some extent, but here (and a few other places, like Engadget and Google+), the Linux/Android fans are like absurdly exaggerated caricatures of the supposed Apple "fanbois" they are always complaining about!

    This even goes to the extreme of Linux enthusiasts hating Ubuntu, or Android fans calling the Raspberry Pi useless. What the hell guys?!

  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @05:29PM (#43595143)

    Precisely. This is the distinction that so many of the "tablets suck for content creation" crowd are missing.

    If you're going to be coding, work with a device that has an interface designed around a keyboard. If you're going to be writing articles, do the same.

    If you're going to be painting digitally, find yourself something that works with a stylus. Previously, people used to attach a Wacom peripheral to their PCs to accomplish this task, but tablets are already owned by millions of people and can basically do this sort of thing right out of the box.

    For musicians, especially amateurs, the tablet can be a complete game-changer, since it can replace the need to purchase hundreds or thousands of dollars in instruments and other tools. Clearly it won't be replacing the need for a physical violin or a physical piano anytime soon, but for stuff like synths, beat boxes, or just quick compositions that could use an instrument the musician doesn't have available, a tablet can fill that gap quite capably for a fraction of the price of purchasing those items individually, and its touchscreen interface is far better-suited for those uses than a mouse and keyboard are.

    If you're going to be taking or editing videos or pictures, a tablet won't be replacing a professional-grade setup, but for amateurs the tools that are available are already quite good, and a lot of the actions (e.g. for videos: scrubbing through a video, selecting a portion of the video, or establishing the path of a panning shot; for images: cropping, zooming, or rotating) come more naturally with fingers on a touchscreen than they do with a mouse and keyboard hooked up to a screen that sits in front of you.

    Tablets don't suck for content creation. In fact, they're quite good at it. But they're general purpose tools that will rarely be better than purpose-built systems, especially once you start to talk about professionals and the incredibly specific needs that they have.

  • Re:I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by interval1066 (668936) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @05:51PM (#43595375) Homepage Journal
    Me thinks the man doth have the taste of Sour Grapes in his gullet. But hey, I'm not so big on tablets my self. But you know who is? Non-techies. My wife loves her tablet. LOVES IT. Takes it with her whever she goes. I absolutely cannot do my work on my tablet, I always pull out my ultra when I want to do development. But as a mass-market gadget, the tablet seems to be a big hit. Five years from now? Dunno, probably. 10 years? Hell, who knows? Maybe we'll be using empty air as an interface to our smart phones to pull up data on a 3d projection in that air. Maybe people will get in to being wet wired (William Gibson, anyone?) and jack their data directly into their brains. Wtf.

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