By any account, the BlackBerry PlayBook - the company's first attempt at creating a mainstream tablet - was a disaster. It launched to mediocre reviews, was widely panned for launching with glaring omissions such as a native email client (relying instead on accessing email via a tethered BlackBerry handset), and sold in such tiny numbers (before 'fire sale' offers that, in some cases, saw devices being literally given away) that the company was forced to write down a $485m one-off charge to resolve the thorny issue of unsold inventory of the device.
It's perhaps unsurprising that BlackBerry isn't in any rush to get back into the tablet game. But what may raise an eyebrow or two are comments made by the company's CEO, Thorsten Heins, with regards to the future of the tablet market as a whole.
Who needs a tablet when you've got a BlackBerry phone for all of your "mobile computing"?
Speaking at the Milken Institute conference in Los Angeles yesterday, Heins asserted his belief that the days of the tablet are numbered, implying that devices such as Apple's phenomenally successful iPad and other rivals like Samsung's Galaxy Tab range will soon be a thing of the past. "In five years, I don't think there'll be a reason to have a tablet anymore," he told conference delegates. "Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model."
As Bloomberg reports, Heins reiterated his ambitions for BlackBerry in the mobile space, as the company continues the rollout of its two BlackBerry 10 launch phones. "In five years, 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."
Whether BlackBerry can achieve superiority in "mobile computing" with only smartphone handsets remains to be seen, but this isn't the first time that we've heard Heins make comments with reference to that term. A few weeks ago, he revealed that the company had thought long and hard about adopting Windows Phone and Android for future BlackBerry products, but decided against them because they are "not mobile computing platforms". BlackBerry's vision in that regard, according to Heins, is to support users in being able to carry out all of the same tasks on their phone as they would on a PC.
Source: Bloomberg | Image via BlackBerry