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RIM CEO Thorsten Heins   (Source:
Thorsten Heins thinks that tablets are a dead end

When it comes to forward-looking progress in the mobile sector, most people aren't looking to companies like BlackBerry for direction. Instead, most people look towards Google, Apple, Amazon, and to a lesser extent these days, Microsoft.
However, BlackBerry, which is soon set to launch its "old school" QWERTY-equipped Q10 smartphone, has gone against the grain and given a dire prediction for the future of tablets.
“In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore,” said BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins while being interviewed at the Milken Institute conference. “Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model.”

Companies like Apple would definitely disagree with the last statement; iPad sales have been growing ever since its introduction in 2010. In addition, the iPad (along with the iPhone) are bringing in the majority of the profits for Apple while its iPod and Mac product lines have played a back seat role.
Amazon is also using its relatively low-cost tablets to lure customers to its digital media and streaming product offerings. The online retail giant makes little to no money on the sale of the actual Kindle Fire hardware, but counts on a steady stream of revenue from customers that purchase eBooks, TV shows, and movies.
Microsoft is also betting big on tablets as witnessed by its Surface and Surface Pro tablets (although Microsoft is finding out that breaking into an Apple/Google-dominated market is tough work).
It's pretty easy to see why Heins is pessimistic about tablets due to the abject failure of its 7" PlayBook, but to decry the failure of the entire tablet market seems a bit premature.
So does Thorstein Heins have a magic 8-ball that is accurately predicting the future, or do you think that he is downplaying the importance of the tablet form-factor until BlackBerry can launch a credible entry? 

Source: Bloomberg

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By txDrum on 4/30/2013 1:06:46 PM , Rating: 5
It seems like he's talking about business. I don't see tablets replacing the raw productivity of workstations etc. in 5 years. Nobody is ever going to sacrifice the raw power of a workstation for portability.

The consumer side? Not gonna happen. Tablets are here to stay for sure, although we'll probably see notebook hybrids as well.

RE: Business...
By Obujuwami on 4/30/2013 1:52:40 PM , Rating: 2
Interestingly enough, we have a few surface pros floating around my job and people use them for presentations and generally like them. They are easy to support and customizing the images for it is rather easy. So I see businesses using those as tools for the next 2-10 years...once they catch on...

Other than that, I think his idea is poorly thought out. I think what we will need in the future is inter-connective systems that are accessible via any device you have around. A giant screen isn't going to allow you to type a document or work with a spread sheet easier, but it will give you a huge space to do thinks like look at a dashboard with things you need to know or can control (like your thermostat) or set. Obviously I am thinking a bit grandiose my self, but I would love to see a smart house that is controlled by a small desktop that you can manipulate with any device, regardless of the OS. I would also love to see these smart house systems installed in houses for a reasonable cost...but we can only dream...

RE: Business...
By FITCamaro on 4/30/2013 1:55:41 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah but its not really a traditional tablet.

But yeah I totally see devices like the Surface Pro becoming more common as Intel and AMD get more power efficient architectures released.

ARM is plenty capable of meeting most consumers demand for content. More powerful architectures though are needed for the foreseeable future to do actual work.

RE: Business...
By BSMonitor on 4/30/2013 2:40:54 PM , Rating: 2
Long term, a tablet with workstation horsepower that "docks" to the workstation at one's desk.

RE: Business...
By Labotomizer on 4/30/2013 2:59:01 PM , Rating: 5
And this is exactly why Windows 8 was the right direction to move in for MS. Perhaps the execution could have been better. But if you think of computing as moving in this direction, which I wholeheartedly agree with, then a single OS with adaptable user interfaces based on the mode of operation is the best way to do it. On my Surface Pro I spend most of my time in the desktop when using the Type Cover and Bluetooth mouse. When I'm using it as a tablet I spend most of my time in the Metro UI, with the exception of Outlook. It's really the perfect device for me. I can do 100% of my work on it and 100% of my media consumption. There isn't another device out there even in the same class in my opinion.

RE: Business...
By hubb1e on 4/30/13, Rating: 0
RE: Business...
By kyuuketsuki on 5/1/2013 11:17:05 AM , Rating: 4
"I agree 100% and the failure of Mircosoft was to force everyone into the tablet UI all the time."

Except you're not forced into Modern UI all the time in Windows 8. I see it once when I boot, and occasionally when I do a search, but 99% of the time I'm on the classic desktop.

RE: Business...
By Mint on 5/1/2013 11:57:55 AM , Rating: 3
So, if you define the tablet as today's tablet, a slow CPU on a stipped down OS, lacking a keyboard then I think the CEO was right as I think tablets will evolve into real devices with detachable keyboards, full featured OS's, and adequate performance. So in essence, the tablet is dead, long live the tablet.
That's how I see it, too. ARM tablets are going to disappear as long as Intel prices Clovertrail+ and Silvermont SOCs reasonably and MS doesn't charge too much for Win8. People will pay a small premium for wintel, as witnessed by Linux netbooks not getting anywhere.

Today's tablets are really starting to feel the squeeze between small notebooks and large smartphones. It's not as pocketable as the latter or as functional as the former, so how long can they remain useful?

RE: Business...
By Jeffk464 on 5/1/2013 12:25:38 PM , Rating: 1
I really don't think ARM based devices are going to be going away. The popularity and android and iOS will continue, it seems to me that MS is the company that is becoming less relevant.

RE: Business...
By othercents on 4/30/2013 2:12:26 PM , Rating: 2
The consumer side? Not gonna happen. Tablets are here to stay for sure, although we'll probably see notebook hybrids as well.

It could happen, but only with something that replaces them with something similar. Take the latest Android phones and connect them to a phablet interface similar to what ASUS is doing. Now you have eliminated another device and just added an interface. Remove the phablet and go to VR glasses.

I think there are possibilities to create faster processors for the raw power in a smaller size and newer interfaces, but we are only going to replace one type of device for another unless we are willing for the computer to directly interface into our brains. Yes they do that already too.

RE: Business...
By HoosierEngineer5 on 4/30/2013 3:03:48 PM , Rating: 2
Since many schools are not forcing the parents to buy these devices, and they make (very expensive) toys for Christmas presents, I believe the current sales are indeed inflated. When the prices become reasonable and usability improves, it is clear that most people will have them, but the days of the must-have-it-at-all-costs will be nearing and end.

After owning one for a few weeks (iPad), I still wouldn't buy one unless I was forced to. There are just not enough times I personally need mobile computing.

The one feature, strangely, that seems to be missing that would be compelling is GPS. For the price I paid, I'm amazed it was not included. That, and an Ethernet port. Apple always just seems to do things 'there way'. Guess it's good for the rest of you.

RE: Business...
By HoosierEngineer5 on 4/30/2013 3:05:11 PM , Rating: 2
...meant NOW forcing.

RE: Business...
By bodar on 4/30/2013 10:44:14 PM , Rating: 1
You can't put an ethernet port in a tablet that thin. An RJ45 port is roughly twice as tall as most tablets are thick. If you really (really?) need wired connectivity, there's an adapter:

RE: Business...
By bodar on 4/30/2013 10:47:18 PM , Rating: 2
Oh fail, that's for Macbook Air. I could've sworn there's an adapter for Lightning port though...

RE: Business...
By Decom on 5/1/2013 9:08:50 AM , Rating: 2
Totally not true.

See this one, I know it's not an iPad/Galaxy tab but to say you can't do it is just a flat out lie :-

Ok, so it's Resistive and probaly a POS, but it can be done.

RE: Business...
By Mint on 5/1/2013 12:01:19 PM , Rating: 2
It's pretty thick where the RJ45 is, so I wouldn't say he's wrong.

RE: Business...
By bodar on 5/1/2013 7:47:44 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, "can't" be done, was hyperbole, but it's a design compromise. You do need to make that part fatter to include an RJ45 port. And for what? Where is this great clamoring for tablets that you can connect to an ethernet port that tablet makers would need to redesign their chassis for? Wi-Fi is pretty ubiquitous now and the whole point of a tablet is to be unplugged. It just doesn't makes sense.

RE: Business...
By jimbojimbo on 5/1/2013 3:57:36 PM , Rating: 2
That, and an Ethernet port
Yes, I want an ethernet cable plugged into my mobile device. Dual band Wifi-n is capable of streaming 720p content just fine so what exactly do you need that ethernet cable for?

RE: Business...
By Hieyeck on 5/1/2013 8:57:44 AM , Rating: 2
Power isn't going to be the issue for businesses. 90% of your average office doesn't do much more than web + Office. A lot of people are already transitioning to ultraportables, if only because losing the physical keyboard means losing screen space as well on a tablet.

I can see stuff like the Asus Taichi taking off. Give it a docking station for a large monitor and offices don't need PCs.

RE: Business...
By Jeffk464 on 5/1/2013 12:16:32 PM , Rating: 2
There has been talk of making smart phones capable of controlling any enabled monitor. So you could use your phone to stream to your home theater. You could have a desktop that is solely bluetooth keyboard, mouse and monitor. I think there might be something to the idea that your only computing device will be your phone. But then again the android stick concept is getting so cheap it seems like you might as well have computing in every device. Don't know so long as they all work seamlessly together through cloud computing I guess it doesn't matter.

RE: Business...
By bsd228 on 5/1/13, Rating: 0
"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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