BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins recently stated at the Milken Institute conference in Los Angeles that, “In five years, I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore. Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such.” Does Heins actually believe what he is saying, or is he spewing propaganda because BlackBerry has unsuccessfully to-date broken into the tablet market?
BlackBerry’s tablet, the Playbook, launched in 2011 currently has lifetime shipments of less than 2.5 million. After receiving mixed reviews, the Playbook has struggled to gain significant market share, which would give Mr. Heins reason to downplay the future of the market.
Apple, Microsoft and other top computer hardware companies have discovered that tablets offer users something neither a smart phone nor a laptop have been able to provide. They fill the “leisure” niche. For “regular” people, the tablet is useful for those moments when their lying on their couch, browsing shopping sites while they watch their favorite tv shows. Or when someone wants to quickly order a pizza, but doesn’t feel like turning on and loading a laptop to find the phone number to call for delivery.
For “business” people, the tablet offers efficiency and convenience for meetings, as well as for travel. The tablet is portable, easy-to-use and here to stay. Apple certainly thinks so, considering the tablet giant sold 19.5 million iPads in the just the first quarter of 2013.
Blackberry will have to do more than have Alicia Keyes stand next to Heins, in order to make its products relevant again … especially since Keyes was caught tweeting from her iPhone.
In honor of Heins’ soon-to-be infamous tablet quote, below are five quotes from businessmen who tried to put technology “in the corner” and ultimately fell on the wrong side of history:
1. "The modern computer hovers between the obsolescent and the nonexistent." — Sydney Brenner, 1927
2. "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home." — Ken Olsen, Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977
3. "This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." — Internal memo, Western Union, 1876.
4. "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." — IBM Chairman Thomas Watson, 1943
5. "Everything that can be invented has been invented." — Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899