Once the gold standard for secure mobile messaging, in recent years BlackBerry has fallen on hard times as Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems have gradually taken over. Nevertheless, BlackBerry still has a small, albeit dwindling, fanbase. But that hardcore user group might be about to get a bit smaller once they find out what the company's leadership thinks about tablets.
In a recent interview with Bloomberg, the company's CEO, Thorsten Heins, essentially dismissed the notion that tablets will be successful over the long-term, despite the fact that the format is one of the fastest growing categories in mobile tech. Heins said:
"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. Tablets themselves are not a good business model."
This stunning comment could be read, by some, as a tacit admission of defeat after a relatively lackluster reception for the company's BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. Or, it could simply be what Heins really believes. Either way, it indicates a serious break with the current reality of the marketplace.
But wait. Let's take Heins at his word and imagine a mobile computing world without tablets. What would that world look like? Well, if gesture-controlled interfaces and wearable computers take off over the next decade (and all signs point to this being the case), we could find ourselves in a mobile computing environment in which biometric logins and contact-less screen control has us all interacting with the same stationary screens in public spaces and in our offices and homes.
Essentially, tablets could conceivably be eliminated by the rise of interactive panels on nearly every surface. And this futuristic scenario doesn't even begin to touch upon the possibilities of holographic projection displays, which could eliminate the need for even flat panel displays.
Of course, banking on such a future could be costly for BlackBerry if the innovation map takes a detour for any number of reasons (war, economic strife, etc.). However, if you take this alternative view, Heins' vision of a tablet-less future might not be as foolish as it first sounds.