BlackBerry Tablet Guy Resigns After PlayBook Flops

In May, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins announced the PlayBook tablet would not be upgraded with the company’s BlackBerry 10 operating system, effectively putting an end to the product’s run. Now David J. Smith, the executive vice president in charge of the PlayBook team has submitted his resignation.

According to The Wall Street Journal, a BlackBerry spokesman confirmed that Smith stepped down from his position because of personal reasons.” Smith, who took over the PlayBook division shortly after the device launched in 2011, had been with BlackBerry for eight years. The PlayBook was enthusiastically received when it was release two years ago, but was never able to live up to the high expectations placed on it. Still, the device did have its fans, many of whom thought the BlackBerry 10 upgrade might have given the tablet a much needed boost in the market.

In commenting on the situation, Yankee Group Senior Vice President of Research Wally Swain said, "Always unfortunate to see an executive leave under these circumstances but Heins decision makes perfect sense. The company just disappointed the market with slow sales of BB10 devices and all resources have to be trained on supporting the flagship product.

"The Playbook had loyal fans but there were simply not enough of them to make a sustainable business. Upgrading to BB10 would still imply a relaunch of the concept of a tethered tablet and some existing limitations (like weight and thickness) would have to be addressed. Heins and BlackBerry have bigger issues on the table at the present time than trying to revive a product in which the market has expressed little interest.”

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