I don’t get what the big fuss over tablets is, and I’m happy to see a mobile computing CEO share my skepticism, even if he isn’t the most respected in the game. During an interview with Bloomberg, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins spoke on tablets and what their future looks like. According to Heins, their time is running short, and in as little as five years (which is an eternity in the tech world) tablets will be useless.
Could it be that Heins is still salty over BlackBerry’s stillborn tablet the Playbook, and therefore sees no reason to have a follow-up? And shouldn’t Heins be concentrating on the future of BlackBerry in general, instead of the state of the tablet? Yes, these are fair speculations. But I actually find some sense in Heins’ comments and I think he’s right. The problem with tablets is that nobody really needs one, but everybody really wants one.
Now, I’m not a huge technology person. By that, I mean that I don’t need to have all the latest and greatest. As long as it works well, and it looks somewhat cool, I’m with it. I still have an iPhone 4 for god’s sake — not even the 4S, just the regular old 4. I could justify buying a MacBook once my Samsung notebook shits out on me, and I could definitely justify buying an iPhone 5 (although I’ll probably just wait until the 6 comes out), but there’s one piece of technology that I just can’t ever see myself owning: a tablet.
I think that people are buying tablets not because they can replace the PC or laptop but because tablets do something much better than PC’s — consume content. How much actual work does anyone do on their tablet, besides maybe checking/replying to e-mail? Let’s be real. Few people outside of narrowly defined jobs can say that all they need is a tablet. So, the tablet isn’t really replacing anything. It’s just become a cool extra. And people love extras. Who really buys into the tablet commercials showing someone touching up a photo and moving pie charts around?
I get the concept behind tablets. I get that they’ve become more than media consumption devices, but not by much. In my work, for example — which entails lots of web surfing and writing — I’m unable to find use for a tablet. And why buy a keyboard dock? I’ve already got a laptop. I certainly don’t need two, especially when my laptop, which is more powerful, is just as portable as the tablet and keyboard dock. It’s more convenient too. I don’t need to attach anything — it’s all there, right in one!
Tablets are pointless and overrated. They’re shiny, expensive adult toys that serve as a status symbol in many cases. They’re pretty much large screen smart phones that can’t make calls. My brother just bought one, for example, and when I asked him why, he replied “just to have one,” which serves as further evidence to my ultimate theory that humans will consume like termites until there is absolutely nothing left.