BlackBerry CEO predicts death of tablets

LONDON: To raised eyebrows and incredulity from some, Thorsten Heins, CEO of struggling BlackBerry, predicted the death of tablet computers within five years.

LONDON: To raised eyebrows and incredulity from some, Thorsten Heins, CEO of struggling BlackBerry, predicted the death of tablet computers within five years.

BlackBerry, which is attempting to revitalize its business with the launch of two phones, failed disastrously in its own efforts to launch a tablet device. The BlackBerry PlayBook, which was introduced in 2011, was bought by few and slated by critics. One of its biggest failings was that it shipped without built-in email.

“In five years, I don't think there'll be a reason to have a tablet anymore,” said Heins, speaking to Bloomberg. "Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model."

He added that he also sees "BlackBerry to be the absolute leader in mobile computing" in five years. He said he wanted to gain as much market share “by being a copycat.”

BlackBerry consolidated most of its global PR account this week with APCO and Text 100, which pitched as a team, after a multiple-round review. The account has been estimated at $10 million in value.

Tablet sales have rocketed in the past 12 months, making them the fastest-growing devices in history.

According to analyst IDC, sales of smart connected devices grew by 78.4% in 2012, largely driven by tablets, which exceeded 128 million units. IDC expects tablet shipments to surpass desktop PCs in 2013 and portable PCs in 2014.

BlackBerry's share of that market and the smart connected device market is shrinking despite the launch of the Z10 and the Q10, which debuted last week.

Rob Orr, UK MD at BlackBerry, has described the levels of competition in the market as "insane."

BlackBerry is hoping that the Q10, with its physical keyboard, will win a place in the market, despite the desire of many for Apple and Samsung devices.

In a separate interview with Bloomberg TV, Heins said he was optimistic about BlackBerry's prospects for the Q10 and added there were good early signs in the UK.

"We have very, very good first signs already after the launch in the UK,” he said. “This is going into the installed base of more than 70 million BlackBerry users, so we have quite some expectations. We expect several tens of millions of units."

This story originally appeared on the website of Brand Republic, the sister publication of PRWeek at Haymarket Media.

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