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Blackberry Portables

BlackBerry CEO: Tablet Market Is Dying 564

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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  • Re:I agree (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Teckla ( 630646 ) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @03:40PM (#43593869)

    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.

    Laptops are bulky and heavy. Netbooks offer a terrible user experience (mostly thanks to Microsoft forcing lousy specs on vendors as a prerequisite for Windows Starter licensing).

    I've taken my iPad with me on my last few business trips. It was light and with a big enough display for comfortable use without being too big (or too small like smartphone displays). (Although I'm not happy Apple has already abandoned updates on my not-even-3-years-old iPad 1 -- might have to consider an Android tablet next time.)

    Not sure where the market will go, but tablets aren't a fad for me, they're just the best compromise of all the alternatives (when traveling, at least).

  • Re:I agree (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @03:45PM (#43593941) Homepage

    I agree completely. Tablets are a fad. The form factor is terrible and the functionality is lacking.

    Well, that's an valid opinion, but I don't agree with you.

    My tablet isn't used for work, so the form factor is actually quite nice for what I use it for (surf the web, movies, email when I travel). And the functionality is exactly what I want out of it.

    There's just some stuff I have no interest in doing on my phone. I like the bigger size of the fondle-slab. My phone is too small to watch a movie or read a book.

    I expect you and Mr. Heins will be proven wrong over time. BlackBerry's tablet was crap, but that doesn't mean people who own tablets don't like them.

  • Re:I agree (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tmann72 ( 2473512 ) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @03:46PM (#43593947)
    This isn't even remotely the same and you damn well know it. Horse drawn buggies existed for a very long time before cars and cars were seen as a natural progression of that mode of transportation. The fact we measure engines in horse-power to this day is a testament to that fact. Tablets could be seen as the next phase of computers, but the fact remains they are not as useful for many purposes as real computers are. Whereas with your car example a car completely and thoroughly replaced all functions of a horse drawn carriage in its entirety.
  • by HBBisenieks ( 2884173 ) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @03:49PM (#43593975)
    As someone who works in educational technology, I can say with confidence that tablets are going to be sticking around for well beyond 2018. Take a look at all the schools that have or are starting 1:1 programs, and you'll see that more than half of those programs are using iPads or some other tablet. Look at the OLPC tablets and what's been happening with them. Certainly there's a certain group of people who might not "get" tablets because they're not "traditional" computers, but that does nothing to discount how intuitive they can be, especially to children and the elderly. No, you're not going to be doing extensive command-line work from a tablet, but nobody is suggesting that tablets will entirely overthrow traditional computers. Tablets are an educator's dream. You don't have to teach a child to use a mouse--they just touch what they want. Hell, you hardly have to teach any of the basic functions of a tablet to a child at all; they can figure just about everything out themselves.
  • tablets (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hypergreatthing ( 254983 ) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @04:13PM (#43594215)

    They were in star trek. They'll be around. Everyone likes phones for communication. Tablets will replace books eventually. Tablets will replace phones even.
    Think about a tablet with a flexible screen. One that you can roll up. Now think about a cell phone type stick device that you can put to your ear. Now think about pulling out a display for when you need to use it's screen. And then when you're done just let it roll back into the device.
    Welcome to the next tablet device.
    Blackberry is completely short sighted.

  • by Robert Frazier ( 17363 ) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @04:14PM (#43594225) Homepage

    I have a couple of cheap tablets with the Allwinner A10 SOC. One is running Ice Cream Sandwich, and one is running Jelly Bean. The Ice Cream Sandwich one could be running Jelly Bean, if it were worth the bother. So, they are reasonably up to date. Use? One is used mostly as a glorified remote control for MPD[1]. But it also lets me know when I have emails (I go to a real computer to deal with the emails) and is used as a clock. The other is used as a clock, and both a MPD remote control and streamer. Very useful they are. I can only afford to use them like this because they are reasonably inexpensive. (I even have an old Nokia N800 in the shed (garage) which I use as a MPD remote control and streamer.)

    They are fine when used in this way, and I think that the touch interface helps to make them ideal MPD remote controls.

    [1] I used to use it for steaming as well, but now have a Raspberry PI with pulseaudio in place of it, so I can have the music in that room in sync with the music in other rooms.

    Best wishes,

  • Re:I agree (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @04:26PM (#43594379)

    I think the argument is that a smartphone will one day be able to replace the tablet. Why do I need both a smart phone and a tablet when my smart phone already does everything my tablet does and more. I should just keep the smartphone instead.

    But I think there is an important difference. Size. People like tables for some uses because they have a bigger screen than phones yet phones are useful for other purposes because they're smaller and more portable. But then again it might be possible to plug your phone into a larger screen and a more convenient keyboard as well but there maybe different implementations of this possibility that have their own pros and cons.

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {}> on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @04:43PM (#43594617) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @05:02PM (#43594847)
    IMHO it's a bit of a misnomer to try to categorize all these devices according to their form - phone, tablet, notebook, desktop, etc. They're all PCs (personal computers, not IBM compatible PCs), and as such all of them can pretty much perform the same functions. We've already passed the point where the input devices need not be integrated into the PC - you can connect any old bluetooth versions wirelessly. And we rapidly approaching the point where you can decouple the display as well (Intel's WiDi, though not widely used, shows it's technically feasible).

    If you've taken apart a phone or tablet, or even a notebook, you know that the "computer" part of it only occupies a small circuit board. This part is going to continue to get smaller (e.g. Raspberry Pi and MK808). My prediction is in the future, your phone or maybe even your watch will contain the CPU, RAM, and storage. A "tablet" will just be a 7"-12" screen and digitizer which connects wirelessly with your phone. A "laptop" will just be the "tablet" plus a wireless keyboard and mouse.

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