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RIM CEO Thorsten Heins   (Source: ReadWrite.com)
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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I personally agree
By CaedenV on 4/30/2013 1:56:45 PM , Rating: 2
When I was looking at moving up to updating my devices I looked at a lot of stuff, and finally decided to stick with a desktop + smartphone and nothing else. So my wife and I each have a PC, and we each have a smartphone, and that is it.
The PCs have outputs to the TV and stereo, so there is no more cable box, CD/DVD/VHS/Blueray player, consoles, etc. You just control the content on the TV via the smartphone by using PC remote. It works great for movies, games, and web browsing on the couch without the need to change channels, or discs, or cables, etc. The only down side is breaking out a proper controller or keys+mouse when playing a game. My PC also acts as the home server now that it has a decent RAID controller, so that is one less PC to manage as well.
Similarly, all of our portable devices have been replaced by phones. No more GPS, ereaders, mp3/CD players, laptops, netbooks, camera, video camera, etc. Along with that means no more batteries, proprietary cables, adapters, wall warts, etc. Just phone chargers and normal USB adapters for the phones. Selling the stuff our phones replaced more than paid for the phones as well as their future replacements. We just kept one netbook 'just in case' we need a real portable computer some point down the road.

Then you look to the present-future. Smart home technology is beginning to get somewhere. HVAC, security, and lighting systems are already coming out with very minimalistic interfaces (or no interface other than a power switch), and you are entirely meant to interact with them via the PC or a phone app.
In the near future (~5 years?) tablets and laptops will become dumb terminals for phones. All of the user content, apps, and GUI will be provided by the user's phone and/or a cloud service (local or web). The tablet or laptop will simply provide the phone a larger screen, possibly keys and mice, and eventually added processing power.
In the more distant future (10-20 years?) this will translate over to the desktop as well. You will have a local cloud/server with your bulk content, and your PC/TV simply becomes a screen with a GPU and USB ports to allow for other HIDs to plug into. The phone provides the OS, credentials, programs, etc. The PC/TV/station merely provides a more productive interface, and a bit of extra processing power. That is some time off yet, but thinking of my kiddos, there is no reason I can think of as to why they would need a PC in the way that we think of them today. They will have a 'work station' as an interface, but the processing and data storage will be distributed between a phone like device and servers, and that is odd to think about.

As for Blackberry being the one stating this, it seems a little odd. Blackberry is a phone OS (actually it is more of a skin over a phone OS). But smartphones of the future do not run 'phone OSs' they run real OSs with a phone GUI. Windows phone (after WP7) runs on Windows. Ubuntu phone runs Ubuntu. Future Android phones will run Chrome. iPhones will probably never run OSX (OSX is bloatware at this point), but OSX and iOS will some day be forced to merge if they are going to share resources between PCs, phones, and servers. Unless blackberry somehow hangs on the coat tales of Google and transitions over to ChromeOS then they have to future. It is no an issue of form factor and tablets just 'going away' somehow, they are just going to become extensions of the phone. The issue is the capabilities that the underlying OS provide in supporting hardware, and being able to distribute resources across hardware. MS, Google, Apple, and Canonical all have potential avenues to do this with their OSs with partnerships with Intel and Nvidia who are working on these issues. Blackberry is just a fancy skinning company for Google based products... I wonder how good of a business plan that is going to turn out to be.




RE: I personally agree
By zephyrprime on 4/30/2013 5:23:13 PM , Rating: 2
Why would anything be an extension of a phone when it could just as well be a phone? Having just one extra link like you propose is a pain for simpleminded customers. A cellular transceiver is not that expensive anymore. Phone subscriptions will probably expand to allow multiple devices on one account as has already happened with verizon.


RE: I personally agree
By Iketh on 5/1/2013 12:44:08 AM , Rating: 2
aaaahhh the borg has arrived!!


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