BlackBerry is still in the throes of reinventing itself, but it seems to have found some mild success with its new BlackBerry phones. The same couldn’t be said of its PlayBook tablets, but BlackBerry probably won’t try to take that market anytime soon.
Bloomberg reports that BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins called the future of tablets into question at the Milken Institute conference in Los Angeles. During an interview, he said that there will be no reason to have a tablet in five years. He topped that statement off by saying that “tablets themselves are not a good business model.”
So, what does BlackBerry see as the future? Heins suggests that a “big screen in your workplace” will replace the tablet. That big screen may be part of the company’s future plans as he says BlackBerry is aiming to be “the absolute leader in mobile computing” in five years.
It’s no coincidence that Heins wants the death of the tablet to coincide with his company’s resurgence as a leader in mobile computing. Of course, that resurgence will only come if BlackBerry can produce hardware that convinces people to drop their iPads, Nexus 7s and other tablets in favor of whatever “big screen” the company can come up with.
That “big screen” may actually end up being a new PlayBook, but Heins says that any new tablet from BlackBerry must set itself apart. Maybe BlackBerry is looking at creating a desktop computer that can double as a large tablet. We’ve already seen this kind of stuff in the works at OEMs like Lenovo, but a BlackBerry-branded PC/tablet hybrid could prove interesting if the company could pull it off.
Of course, people are right to be skeptical as BlackBerry hasn’t really innovated on the hardware side of things in recent years. The BlackBerry Z10’s only claim to fame is that its software is somewhat unique while the hardware itself is nothing new. BlackBerry could easily sell a “big screen” device with a great software backing, but Heins makes it sound like BlackBerry wants to start innovating in hardware again as well.
At this point, we can only with the once mighty company all the luck in the world. Compelling hardware is hard to make and even harder to market after a strong incumbent has been on the scene for a few years. You only need to look to Microsoft for evidence of that.