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Blackberry CEO Thinks Tablets Won’t Have a Future in 5 Years


What would you say if I told you that tablets were going to be dinosaurs in five years? You would think I was crazy, right? Well, what if the CEO of a one-time powerful mobile computing company actually said those words, would you react differently? Depends on who it is? It’s Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins. 

My first reaction to comments he made to Bloomberg this week of “In five years, I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore,” is to wonder if this man has lost his mind. But then if you think about it for a couple of seconds, you’ll realize he probably has lost his mind, since he still thinks that Blackberry stands a chance. Or maybe because he priced the QWERTY Blackberry Q10 mid-range throwback smartphone at $249 on two-year contract, $50 higher than real smartphones of today. Or maybe because he took the job as CEO of Blackberry, knowing full well they had become one of the saddest mobile stories in recent memory.

No matter what, Heins isn’t a fan of the tablet. He continued his comments by saying that “tablets themselves are not a good business model,” and that businesses will maybe have big screens in workspaces instead.

Again, what is this man smoking? I think we all fully understand that the Blackberry Playbook, their take on a tablet, was a colossal failure, but the rest of the tablet industry is doing quite well, especially in the corporate environment. For example, I had an eye exam this morning and also an opportunity to pick out some new frames. This eye doctor would easily fit into the small business category, but even they had an iPad handy so that could show me multiple colors of frames, check availability, and help me ultimately decide. Or think about the restaurant Tim and I ate at in Vegas during CES, that handed us interactive menus on an iPad with wine, cocktails, food, and appetizers. Tablets are the future, and are a good business model.

I’m sort of at a loss for words. Your thoughts? Will tablets be gone from our lives in five years?

Via:  Bloomberg

  • kevin

    waiting for a meme now with his photo…. ahahhaha

  • blkalleykat

    Hmm he may need to rethink his outlook. Many companies can easily use tablets to replace books or have them as an alternative. Libraries, schools, and bookstores. There is plently of money to be made in the E-book field. Thus the kindles, and nooks popping up all over the place.

  • blackberry will be gone, he means, and hopefully sooner than 5 years

  • micropro

    He is absolutely correct in the sense the tablet will not be the same tablet we have today. Everything will be moving towards the direction of the Microsoft Surface Pro. It has a tablet interface as well as a full on desktop mode. The best of both worlds in one device. No one will want to carry around a tablet and a laptop when they can have them both in the same device. Think about it…

  • GreenMeansGo

    “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” And, for those who do put one in their home, “640K ought to be enough for anybody.”

  • This guy is just as big as a failure as his predecessor.

  • Chris Clancy

    I lol’d so hard at this

  • Noomski

    Yesterday I spent 6+ hours with a colleague prepping a Z10 for a client. We spent much of that time trying to find a simple way to import a nokia feature phones contacts into the Z10. In the end we needed to import the numbers into Outlook, export the PST and then import them into his outlook profile. Then finally using Activesync to get the contacts into the phone. However, Importing numbers from a feature phone to an HTC Desire HD took seconds..

    During that same day while picking up my lunch the guy in front of me at the checkout took out his phone to answer a call.. The phone was a blackberry Z10. He swiped aimlessly trying to answer the call for about 15 seconds before putting the phone back in his pocket.. still ringing!!!….

    (not one single fact above is invented or embellished)

  • Lane252

    I’m really concerned @ why he is worried about tables over his own job…the opinion of a jobless person should not hold any weight!

  • Elliot Kotis

    No wonder they don’t get anywhere, same with Microsoft, their CEO said that iPhone 1 was stupid because it had no physical keyboard, he also laughed at android AND ChromeOS.


  • Tablets may need 5 years to reach their End of Life, but with such a good CEO, BB co doesn’t needs that much time…

  • Jim McClain

    Wonder if Blackberry will be around 5 years

  • This reminds me of Steve Jobs saying that no one wants a 7″ tablet.

  • Tim242

    He makes some sense. Tablets are not a good business model. They are too expensive for what their limits are. The less expensive tablets get gimped on specs. I never have understood the point of tablets

  • rdoib

    Yes and ice cream and choclate will be free for everyone and wont fat any1.

  • Android Geek

    I’m shorting the stock based off of these comments alone.

  • Chris Mullins

    Blackberry, what are you doing, just stop.

  • Capt. Crunch

    I think they will evolve into ultra books. If it were up to me i would have a tablet with the power of an ultra book and a removable keyboard.

  • Anon

    No matter what I think of Blackberry or its execs, I have wondered this for some time myself. Will tablets be the next “netbook”?
    I don’t think so, but I don’t know if they’ll be the hot thing they are now. They have modest productivity uses, but the moment you need to type something big or multitask, you’re limited. They’re great for seniors or people who just want to peruse the Internet, check e-mail, play a few games, maybe read an e-book, but if you have a fairly portable laptop and a smartphone, I think you already have the best of both worlds.

    • Tim242

      My sentiments exactly!

  • I know of at least 4 major corporations that are in the process of phasing out Blackberrys from their IT structure entirely, and even with a conservative estimate of 50% of their employee base that’s over 20,000 units gone. My own company has even gone so far as to announce a hard cutoff date for support of the devices, so even if someone were to buy their own they’d have to figure out their own workarounds to use it with our systems, and the vast majority of BB users aren’t at that level of tech savvy.

  • HP

    Coming from the CEO of a company that lost the largest smartphone market share in history. Dumb Ass


    So many Blackberry execs have came out with ridiculous statements, why is the media even giving these guys attention?

    • Radgatt

      Because its a ridiculous statement.


        Many idiots make ridiculous statements every day, why should we pay mind to them?

  • yummy

    This is not the man I would
    look to for advice about, well…..anything.

  • Exzaybien

    Just added this to my calendar in 2018, I predict that in 5yrs I’m gonna lmao

    • Radgatt

      Don’t forget to save the link

  • Shin77

    If you look at how quickly technology evolves it’s not totally out of the question. The tablet was introduced over 10 years ago by MS but failed, now it works because many of the issues with the first go around were addressed. What happens when they perfect flexible screens and you can just roll-up your computer? You had to dump a ton of R&D and equipment into ramping up to even be price competitive and the margins are only getting slimmer. How long do you think it will be before hybrids become affordable? I’m not a fan of this guy, just saying that 5 years is a long time and a lot can change, his comments aren’t that outrageous in context.

  • M3D1T8R

    Sold my BBRY stock today, for a nice profit.

    Q10 might succeed somewhat for business customers, but pricing it at 250 +2yr is too high, greedy, could backfire. Z10 is already year old specs priced same as new high end phones One, S4 etc.

    And then I hear this, Heins calling the death of tablets. Maybe I don’t have all the context but he just seems more and more out of touch.

    BBRY has to hope they get bought out. Their two new decent BB10 devices won’t even be fully available for another month (despite the big release end of January, four months!) and they’re already falling behind again.

    • LionStone

      I spotted a Q10 today in Atlanta at the airport 🙂

  • Samsung rules!

    Blackberry…..rhymes with CRAPBERRY

  • nalpakj

    Just in the spirit of trying to understand his comments, I wonder if the sentiment is that in 5 years tablets won’t be quite as special purpose. By special purpose I mean that right now you probably have a tablet AND you have a computer (laptop or otherwise). My hope, and a reality that is getting closer and closer all the time, is that my ‘tablet’ in 5 years will be my full-time computer. In other words it will be a true blending of the portable thing we call a tablet today and a full-featured device that supports the enterprise in full as well the email/browsing functionality that is the primary use of tablets today. So, does this mean tablets are not a thing in 5 years…no…but they aren’t the specialty category that they are today. They just become the standard.

    That all being said…the man is either out of his mind or just lacks the ability to clearly communicate his point.

  • Lucky Armpit

    Too bad your doctor’s appointment and the restaurant used Sheep Pads. Sorry about that.

  • More like the tablet/ultrabook will merge into a single device at some point.

  • schoat333

    Who said a tablet has to be a small screen?

  • krusty46

    He’s ahead of the curve, the playbook is already dead

  • Well… Maybe he is right… If anyone knows about being obsolete, HE does 🙂

  • arthuruscg

    2 words, Google Glasses. Why carry around a tablet when everything can be done thru the glasses?

    • Chris

      because people don’t want to look like a douche…

      • Geeroy

        remember what it was like when the iPad came out? When you saw the first batch of people carrying them around… yeah, totally douchy… who knows what will happen

        • Chris

          Expect you don’t wear the ipad.

  • Dat Nguyen

    The tablet as a form factor will be around for a while. The larger screen vs. your phone and physical interaction is here to stay until someone perfects eye tracking, voice recognition, and air gestures. At which time we will be using our TV’s, available wall space, and someday, holo display for our media and content consumption.

  • M C

    Idk this seems true partially. I bought the xoom when it first came out, now it sits on a shelf never to be used. I only bought a xoom thinking it had better specs, but now my GN2 is almost doubly better than my tablet. As picture / camera quality, and what not become better, whats the use of an over-sized phone that doesn’t make calls. Especially if your looking more into samsung or others futures where you might not be limited so much on on the size of your screen.

  • “a one-time powerful mobile computing company…”

  • Raven65

    Wow… that photo of him is the very definition of smug. Too bad he’s dead wrong. Obviously his leadership is why Blackberry is in the perilous position they’re in now.

    • Finire

      Blackberry still being blackberry is the reason they are failing…

  • in the interest of playing devil’s advocate and giving the benefit of the doubt that may be he isn’t as stupid as he sounds, may be he meant that the future is google glass? In which case…. may be.

  • Prime7

    Because if anyone knows what tech will be hot in the future, it’s BlackBerry.

  • He probably thought the same about laptops when they were first introduced….

  • Mchl496

    BlackBerries won’t have a future in 5 years…. or today..

  • Kenny Larson

    Says the man whose company put out a crappy tablet that no one wanted.

  • ankushnarula

    11.1 million Blackberry devices *shipped* vs 14 million iPads *sold* in Q4 2012 (let’s not even talk about revenue/profit). I don’t understand what “not a good business model” means exactly? Maybe he means it’s not a good business model for Blackberry? Or that Blackberry needs to stay focused on rebuilding some market share in smartphones? Is this Heins’s very own Reality Distortion Field?

  • J

    Tablets will have a place for a long time in business and consumer markets for CONSUMING content. Reading, viewing, interacting with content and information. Obviously, they are still not up to par when it comes to PRODUCING content due to various limitations in mobile OSs, touch interfaces, ease of typing, etc but that WILL change (Win8 was the first attempt.. not very good).
    Aka the guy has a small point, but is overall, an idiot.

  • Go home Thorsten…. You’re drunk!

  • Finire

    Tablets in 5 years, will be irreplaceable and part of every day life. They will be thin, ultra portable, and have full cloud access to your home/business servers.

  • brkshr

    Ya, because they know what consumers like, right?


  • kirk ngo

    wow this guy is on crack. He won’t be around 5 years either so what the hell are you talking about

  • Mario

    Thorsten Heins. . .hmm. Didn’t he change his name from Thurston Howell?

  • Jorge Leal

    your optometrist still uses an iPad? C’mon Kellex, you’re killin’ me smalls

  • Tony Byatt

    Steve Jobs was wrong about screens sizes, any bets on how wrong Thorsten Heins will be on tablets? Damn, just innovate and design better products, he’s clearly in the first stage of the seven stages of grief…

  • Sam’s Son

    Neither will Blackberry.

  • this coming from the man in charge of a company that is struggling to stay alive is in of itself funny as hell however I agree that tablets are silly when i have my phone and desktop.

  • And everyone said netbooks were a joke too, now who’s laughing….

  • Why does Rim /BlackBerry keeps on hiring idiots like this as their CEO?


    …And thats why he works for blackberry. : l

  • droidify

    There is one thing that is certain; if there is a new technology out in five years that renders the tablet obsolete, it will not be made by BlackBerry

  • Thomas

    Hey Bionic, X Berry 🙂

  • Wow……neither will Blackberry…

  • Thomas

    I know this is over said, but it truly applies here : AMAZING

  • Justin Kos

    Kellen you made a typo, the title of the article should read
    “Blackberry CEO thinks he won’t have a future in 5 years”

    • Finire

      You really think they can make it 5 years?

  • strickforce

    Coming from a system admin perspective and in the business place… I somewhat agree – although its hilarious that blackberry CEO is the one saying it. Our office has over 200 users, we all got the iPad the month after they first came out. Since that day, everything we do to it is trying to make it back into a laptop. Manging them is an extra cost, more resources – and most people prefer to use it for personal stuff… Even with company apps for software etc… Long story short – it has been a prolonged ‘Wii effect’ – at least in the business place. It was cool and new at first, but then you realize you would still rather carry around a laptop to get the work done – now that Ultrabooks are really starting to get into the picture, there will be less and less need to get a tablet, when an ultrabook packing a core i7 and getting to the point where it will weigh the same…

    • Fattie McDoogles

      I agree. I think that’s really what he was trying to say. The tablet as we know it today, will be dead in 5 years. Ultrabooks are turning into tablets with all the ways to flip and fold them into just touchscreen devices. I think at this point they are more of a novelty. @kellex:disqus referenced the restaurant that he and Tim went to in Vegas, the use of a tablet was a great novelty and great in situations like that. But outside of media consumption and emailing tablets aren’t good for much else. They, at this point in time, don’t replace the need for a computer. I can’t transfer data to and from it without a computer. I know Android tablets are kind of able to do this but not tablets as a whole.

    • greg

      I see your point but in some business situations as for the company I work for they can be great. Our salespeople go to peoples homes and show demos on what were selling and also takes the bathroom measurements plugs them in and fills out the entire sales order letting the customer see different schemes, colors and patterns for their bathroom. So while in some situations in may not be the beat but for others tablets are a great tool.

      • greg

        But this is on an iPad and not an android tablet like I would use lol

        • strickforce

          yeah but you still have to have a computer at some point, and the IT dept/CIO is having a tough time buying a device, and spending tons of money trying to turn it into a laptop, while still buying laptops to do the ‘real work’. My point is that I guess – there will be a device very soon, the ultra book is ‘ultra close’ to replace all of the tablet/laptop market. The sales guy would love to have an ultrabook that could ‘detach’ and act as a tablet when demoing products on the road, but turn into a full Ultrabook/Laptop back in the car/hotel/office. Otherwise, the tablet is a pretty expensive power point presenter.

      • AnotherAndroidKid

        This is why I have my TF201. Being a travel agent on the side, I can go to customers and show them easily the things we’re talking about. An ultrabook could work as well, of course as would a laptop, but the tablet really works in this case. One of the small lightweight screens to kick up a sales pitch.

  • Ricky

    Too bad Blackberry won’t be around to find out.

  • New_Guy

    laptops won’t have a future in 5 years…

  • jzwerlz43

    You mad Thorsten?

  • bakdroid

    If phones keep getting bigger, he will be correct.

  • Rafa Sandoval

    Alicia Keys cant come up with any tablet designs!

    • Hah.

    • Warwick

      It’s already on fire. lol

  • Jeff Tycz

    annnnnd….. this is why Blackberry is where it is in the market….

  • MichaelFranz

    his lazy eye must think that…while his other one is looking at a blackberry playbook..

    in all seriousness – i don’t think so, i think they will be better. And i agree this guy must be on something or just trying to get his name in the paper… I would like to see more tablet innovation within the next few years

  • Havoc70

    With a CEO this Brain damaged no wonder BB is going down the tubes

  • Zach Armstrong

    Tablets are becoming more and more popular This guy doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about

  • LoserRIM

    The Z10 won’t have a future in 5 MINUTES.

    • ^^

    • New_Guy

      ouch 🙂

    • RumbaCembe

      Whoever decided that a phone shouldn’t have hardware or software buttons and be all gesture based is an idiot. I hate demoing the phone at work for customers!

      • EC8CH

        I actually think the Ubuntu all gesture based UI is pretty slick.

        • Xavier Spruill

          Speaking of Ubuntu, what they plan to do with their tablet options next Fall, is the sole reason I believe tablets have a future… I really hope they pull it off.

      • FAL_Fan

        Man are you ever right! I played with the phone for an hour + in bb just for the hell of it and I hated it! Took so long to figure out, iPhone users will die trying!

      • paul_cus

        Though I do like MeeGo on the Nokia N9.

        • Mr. Orange 645

          I doubt any iPhone users will even try it it to begin with.

      • No matter how the UI looks or acts, there’s going to be someone who likes it. The trick is to come up with a design that appeals to enough people to enable sales to make a profit off the effort. Apple did it with the iPhone, Google did it (better) with Android, and Microsoft has enough capital in other ventures to support Windows Mobile well into the next century. RIM has neither a good enough idea or another product to keep Blackberry afloat.

    • It is a shame that TAT got bought by these guys their future on Android would have been SO much brighter

    • Exactly

  • JeremyAn2

    ….says the guy whose company accounts for a whopping 6% of the mobile phone biz -_-

  • Nexus_FrEak


  • The fact that their tablet didn’t make a dent in any tablet sales graphs makes me think he is right, but only for his tablet.

  • napes22

    Says the CEO whose company failed at making tablets.

    • VZW4LYF

      failedcompanysayswhat? lol

      • Blackberry


    • Yeah, but when that doesn’t work out he will probably have a promising career as a comedian.

      • napes22

        I just flew in from bankruptcy, and boy are my arms tired.

  • Warwick

    “Tablets”. He meant Blackberry.

    • DJyoSNOW

      Just what I was thinking DITTO

    • XphoneTroll

      He is mad bro.. He is just letting his feelings out… Lmao

    • DanPatrickFlores

      I scrolled down to the comments section expecting this one to be the top one. Good job, sir.

      • michael arazan

        I hope they do a follow up with him in 5 years when blackberry is sold off and swallowed up by some other tech company for it’s patents and he is managing a Best Buy

  • Usmaan Bajwa

    Hes just crying because they suck at tablets

  • Loc-Nar

    Blackberry / RIM won’t be around after this year, so who really gives a F**K what he thinks …

    • Pallav

      RIM’s already gone. 🙂
      One down, one to go.