back to article BlackBerry CEO: Tablets will be dead in 5 years

BlackBerry chief Thorsten Heins reckons slabs will be dead in half a decade, by which point his firm will be the front runner in mobile computing. Two predictions in a Bloomberg report, both of which might come back to the haunt Heins, who replaced former joint CEO's Jim Balsilie and Mike Lazaridis at the start of 2012. The …


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  1. Kevin Reilly
    Thumb Up

    I like my playbook

    It does flash, email, web & GPS. Has 64 GB of flash storage to which you drag & drop video or any other files to over a Wifi network from Windows, Macs or Linux boxes just using Samba so nothing to install.all for the price of the cheapest iPod 135 quid at Currys. Whats not to like ?

    1. LarsG


      If you have shares in RIM sorry Blackberry sell them now because there is a nutter in charge and he is hearing voices...

    2. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: I like my playbook

      "by which point his firm will be the front runner in mobile computing."

      At least he has a sense of humour.

      Meanwhile, in other news, Windows Phone is outselling Blackberry nearly 6:1 in the US and hit 7% share in the UK, pushing Blackberry into 4th place in most markets.

  2. Pirate Dave

    Minor correction to quote...

    "In five years I don't think there'll be a reason to have a Blackberry tablet anymore," said Heins

    There, fixed that for you.

    1. The Vociferous Time Waster

      Re: Minor correction to quote...

      "I don't think there'll be a reason to have a Blackberry anymore," said Heins

      There, fixed that for you.

      1. Pirate Dave

        Re: Minor correction to quote...

        "I don't think there'll be a Blackberry anymore," said Heins

        There, fixed your fix to my fix.

        1. Dave Fox

          Re: Minor correction to quote...

          "I don't think" said Heins.

          There - fixed again! :)

          1. Rick Giles

            Re: Minor correction to quote...

            "Blackberry still exists?" said the rest of the world.

  3. Brenda McViking

    Har Har

    sell sell sell that RIM stock then... One to go down in the list of greats:

    “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olson, 1977

    “We will never make a 32 bit operating system.” — Bill Gates

    “There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service.” — T. Craven, 1961

    “The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.” — Sir William Preece, 1878

    “The world potential market for copying machines is 5000 at most.” — IBM, 1959

    “Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever.” - Thomas Edison 1889

    “Television won’t last. It’s a flash in the pan.” - Mary Somerville 1948

    "640K ought to be enough for anybody." - Bill Gates (maybe)

    And by far my favourite

    “Home Taping Is Killing Music” - BPI, 1980s

    1. Irk

      Re: Har Har

      Don't stick a maybe on; do some research before quoting.

  4. 1Rafayal

    "I see BlackBerry to be the absolute leader in mobile computing - that's what we're aiming for…I want to gain as much market share as I can, but not by being a copycat"

    And good luck to you sir!

    1. Steven Roper

      I think you mean

      "Good luck with that!"

  5. Mikel

    Retirement plans?

    Has he got any idea what to do with all the extra time he's about to have on his hands?

  6. Trokair 1
    Thumb Down

    Uhhhhh, no

    Blackberry had a real opportunity early in the mobile game. They basically owned corporate sales the way that IBM owned corporate backend at one time. They both fell for the same reason, content with the large amount of money they were making they stopped innovating. A few years ago I loved BB handhelds and thought they were great pieces of tech. Today my 16 year old cousin has a more advanced handheld then what Blackberry has to offer. Not to mention that their enterprise server is a terrible muddy mess.

    Sorry Blackberry but I don't forsee you dominating anything anytime soon.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Uhhhhh, no

      Blackberry got dragged down by the pirates NTP. Whether they might otherwise have continued as a successful innovator is now one of those might-have-beens. But a non-US company that is a market leader is always going to be particularly vulnerable to piracy in the US courts: that's why so many companies originating in Europe (including not least my employer) move their registration and head offices to the US.

  7. W.O.Frobozz

    That just about wraps it up for the Praybook then

    Got one for my wife a couple years back while she had a blackberry. Sad to see that two years later the coaster really hasn't changed much. She only uses it to take pictures now.

    Not surprised Thor has shrugged over this. The Praybook is a relic from the two buffoons who drove the company into the ground, a sound reminder that they were dabbling in nonsense when they should have been focusing on the future of Blackberry handsets.

    No future for tablets, Thor? My Transformer Infinity disagrees. But then again I can at least run Netflix on mine.

  8. TaabuTheCat

    Here we go again...

    "I see BlackBerry to be the absolute leader in mobile computing - that's what we're aiming for…I want to gain as much market share as I can, but not by being a copycat"

    I know he has to say that but I pray to God he doesn't really believe it, or they really are dead. The only way to be #1 is by chasing consumers and that's never been what RIM was about.


    Why can't companies be content knowing who they are and owning their own corner of a market? Why do they all believe it's world domination or nothing - and then proceed to drive a profitable business straight into the ground just to prove it?


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Here we go again...

      I don't think he meant by volume. I suspect he meant software technology leader. This is not impossible because QNX has probably got a lot more going for it as a mobile core OS than the competition. Rather unlikely but not impossible.

  9. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Andy Baird

      Re: Genius of Apple when you think about it...

      "only one competitor was able to copy [Apple's] success - perhaps two if you include the Linux-based Kindle"

      Except that the Kindle Fire tablets are sold at a loss in order to support Amazon's content-consumption business, so you can't really call them competitive as hardware devices. No, I'm afraid there is only one successful tablet maker besides Apple, and that of course is Samsung.

    2. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Genuis of Apple when you think about it...

      "Everyone else failed."

      Actually Windows has taken 7% of the global tablet market in less than 6 months...Not quite on Apple or Android levels yet, but not exactly a failure either imo.

      1. Belardi

        Re: Genuis of Apple when you think about it...

        But that is not what happened.

        Windows phone market is ALL MS Windows Phone devices that are in use. Including WP7 and older.

        Hence the joke that WP8 has sold double that of WP7... Before WP8 release, windows was about 5%.

        Also... There are no "windows" in windows phone.... Go figure.

        Also... Android phone apps work on android tablets, same with iOS phone apps run in iPads. Meanwhile, WP8 apps don't work on WP7 phones or WinRT8 or Win8. WinRT8 apps only run on RT... What a bloody mess.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Playbooks for kids eh?

    You can buy 200 Playbooks for $10,000 and donate them to the local school for a tax deduction. Good publicity too.

  11. ItsNotMe
    Thumb Up

    For ONCE...

    ..."The Company Formerly Known as RIM" are AHEAD of the curve. The Playbook has already died an ignominious death. I should know...I own one.

  12. DougS Silver badge

    What a shock

    The CEO of a company that has no real presence in a market they tried and failed to enter announces that market will be dead in five years.

    Maybe Ballmer should try that. Instead of banging his head against the wall trying to make a smartphone people actually want, he should announce the smartphone will be dead in five years. Then maybe people will quit paying attention to Apple, Google and Samsung and start talking about PCs again!

  13. julianh72

    Well, he's right about Blackberry not being a copycat!

    Conventional wisdom would suggest that designing and manufacturing products in a market segment that consumers and businesses are clamouring to buy is a logical move. Blackberry have certainly found a "point of differentiation" with a strategy of turning their back on the fastest-growing segment of mobile technology.

    That certainly carves out a unique niche that only they will occupy (that of making products that nobody wants, and not manufacturing the products that everybody wants.) As long as there are plenty of customers who are as crazy as Thorsten Heins, they will have the entire market segment to themselves!

  14. Anonymous Coward


    BlackBerry chief Thorsten Heins reckons slabs will be dead in half a decade - by which point his firm will have been deader longer.

  15. Dazed and Bemused

    Still, he may well have a point. Firstly, technology changes and five years is a long time. About as long ago as netbooks first appeared for instance, and they're no longer taking the market by storm either. Secondly, do you really need more than one 'intelligent' device? Keep your phone in your pocket connected wirelessly to whatever "dock" you want to connect it to; be it a dumb terminal tablet-style or laptop device, a TV or whatever. I think I'd rather like something like that.

  16. gnufrontier


    Given his statement one can presume no tablet will be forthcoming from RIM (of course that depends on what tablet means - size ? form factor ? touch only interface ? ).

    Maybe they will create a new category - the capsule.

    The desires of the enterprise market are different from the consumer market so in that regard he may not be wrong. It's not that tablets can't be used for business but they are primarily viewers.

    Of course a smart phone is a viewer too albeit a lousy one due to the small screen size.

    There is not much we are doing with these devices that we haven't done before except we can now do them while driving down the road or performing brain surgery.

    Much of my time is keyboard time as well as some graphic editing so I still am stuck in the stone-hinge age

    of laptops.

    Of course the list of things people said would never make it is still far shorter than the list of things people thought would make it. We don't see all the failures. Like some rare species they appear for a moment and then hastily become extinct in the non-conducive environment in which they find themselves. Timing is far more important than functionality. We are still wedded to keyboard layouts from the mechanical age and Xerox was too ahead of its time to take advantage of all the things we now use as a matter of course in computing.

    CEO's are just like politicians. What are they going to say - "I have no idea what the hell I'm doing".

    That's a sure way to see your golden parachute not open as they toss you off the plane.

  17. a pressbutton

    he has a point

    5 years ago most people had pcs, now the chance is you have a laptop.

    5 years ago most homes were still in transition to flat tvs, but they were expensive

    in 5 years time he thinks there will be big display units in every room that you connect to wirelesly and the thing you will be using to connect will be a blackberry

    one of those 2 predictions might be right

  18. WylieCoyoteUK

    I have a desktop, a laptop a netbook and a tablet.(and an Android phone). I don't own a TV.

    These days I only use the laptop for work, and the tablet at home.

    Although screen mirroring may be useful, I doubt that using a huge screen with a phone will be a useful way to work.

    Not everyone wants a screen in every room.

    I doubt that the tablet will go the way of the netbook, but it may evolve.

  19. Gordon Pryra
    Paris Hilton


    Coming from a man that sells a device which gives you a headache whilst doing its stated design purpose of reading emails?

    The only reason Blackberry ever got any sales was because of the ease of using your own companies emails on the device, when no other system could do it (so simply). For them to be still releasing handsets with that tiny screen now is laughable.

    I'm not sure who made the point in the article about the HP and Viewsonic tabs being left in the mud, is this not just that they were shit compared to the Samsung and Apple versions? Who in their right mind would buy a bit of kit from these boys given the alternatives?

    Much the same as a blackberry. Who in their right mind would choose to use a blackberry (if choice they have)

    Paris, because RIM or something

  20. Dharmesh Mistry

    Just when things were going well, silly predictions...

    The answer to his problem with tablets is STOP MAKING TABLETS that are undifferentiated, proprietary and expensive. Tablets won't die in 5years just because BB has been bad at making them, they just been making the wrong ones.

    The advantages are they are mobile with larger screen estate. So most likely the hybrid market (Laplet or TabTop ) which provides both Tablet and Laptop capability will be the norm....

  21. Mr Spock


    ... when your advisers said 'compete with Nokia' they didn't mean 'see if you can say things in public which are as stupid as the things Nokia's CEO says'...

  22. JeffyPooh Silver badge

    Playbook = heavy

    It's a nice platform, but it's a lot more massive than my Nexus 7 or my wife's iPad Mini.

    One of each is the best rule.

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