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BlackBerry CEO: Tablets are doomed
"In five years I don't think there'll be a reason to have a tablet anymore"
 
The CEO of Blackberry, whose tablet is struggling, says tablets have no future.
The CEO of Blackberry, whose tablet is struggling, says tablets have no future. Scott Olson/Getty Images

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins is all up in your news again, making crazy predictions. To wit:

"In five years I don't think there'll be a reason to have a tablet anymore," Heins said in an interview yesterday at the Milken Institute conference in Los Angeles. "Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model." [Bloomberg]

Heins should have known that hell hath no fury like a tech blogger scorned. "Trash-talking tablets in general is worse than sticking your head in the sand," says TechCrunch's Darrell Etherington. "It makes the company look hopelessly out of touch."

Others noted that the tablet industry is doing just fine, thank you very much. "As a factual, across-the-board statement, the notion that 'tablets aren't a good business model' is problematic," says GigaOm's Erica Ogg: "There's at least one company [hint: It's Apple] that might argue with him since it's been doing pretty well in part thanks to its decision to start making tablets in January 2010."

But could Heins have a point? Five years is a long time, after all. Remember: There was a time "when it might have been hard to believe that the netbook market would simply vaporize the way it has," says Dan Frommer at SplatF:

Maybe in five years, everyone will have a paper-thin, 6-inch phone in their pocket, and a paper-thin, 30-inch touchscreen computer at home, and/or Google glasses, and today's 8-to-10-inch tablets will be rare. [SplatF]

When you put it that way, maybe the BlackBerry chief's crystal-ball gazing isn't quite the desperate bid for attention we think it is. Take a look at the technology landscape five years ago: The iPod was still a core element of Apple's hardware business; Dell and HP, respectively, were the world's top two PC-makers; and the world's lone Android had a tiny screen and an ugly, swing-out keyboard. In other words, a lot can change between now and 2018.

Or perhaps he's really just crazy.

 
Chris Gayomali is the science and technology editor for TheWeek.com. Sometimes he writes about other stuff. His work has also appeared in TIME, Men's JournalEsquire, and The Atlantic.

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