Those tablet PCs that you see everywhere – at home, at work, on TV – might be just a passing fad. What?
That's what BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins thinks. In an interview with Bloomberg, he said "tablets themselves are not a good business model."
Apparently tens of millions in sales of Apple's iPad alone aren't enough to convince the man who holds the reins at the once-great Canadian smartphone maker that's trying to make a comeback. Perhaps mediocre sales of his company's own tablet, the PlayBook, spurred him to make the strange comment.
"In five years I don't think there'll be a reason to have a tablet anymore," Heins said in the interview. But there might be a method to his madness. Heins, who said there won't be a follow-up to the PlayBook, believes smartphones and so-called "phablets" – smartphone-tablet hybrids – will be the most user-friendly and easily transported mobile devices in the future.
"Tablets are already shrinking and smartphones are growing — the screen size gap is down to less than 2 inches. It seems natural to project the gap will disappear in a so-called phablet with perhaps a 6.5-inch screen that fits the bill," noted Wally Swain, research VP at Yankee Group, reacting to Heins' comments. “This comment makes me think of the adage, ‘We overestimate the impact of technology in the short term and underestimate it in the long term.' I think it’s entirely possible Heins is right in the long term — that a truly portable device will become the norm — but I think five years may be ambitious."
Interestingly enough, the size of the device in the future might come down to how clothing and personal-accessories manufacturers adapt to technology. Swain notes that a 6.5-inch phablet is a little large for a man's pocket, and a full-size tablet is a little large for many women's purses.
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