Don't expect a new BlackBerry tablet any time soon

Thorsten Heins
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins in Sydney

If you have been holding out for a new BlackBerry PlayBook with OS 10, it might be time to extinguish that flame. CEO Thorsten Heins doesn't see it happening any time soon.

In Australia this week promoting the launch of the BlackBerry Z10, Heins told journalists that tablets, as we know them today, are not on the current BlackBerry roadmap.

"Tablets in my view, from a hardware perspective, is a very difficult business. There's one company, and kudos to them, that did it really well, and they own the majority of the market. Then there are other companies that treat tablets as a sales window to their audience, and have basically taken a lot of profit pool away from these kinds of tablets."

"To cut a long story short, if i build a tablet, I will not go there for the hardware purpose. If I build a tablet, or whatever evolves out of the tablet form factor, I will do this around a service; enterprise services or consumer services; value proposition. Because the pure hardware alone, it's a cut-throat business and I owe it to my shareholders to provide them with a return on their investment."

Looking forward

Heins made it clear that he believes that today's tablets are just a stepping stone between how we see computers now and how companies like BlackBerry imagine computers will be in the near future. While many tech-savvy people in the Western world now own computers in three or more form factors, BlackBerry is banking on this soon shrinking to just one.

"If [smartphones] become the one and only [source of] computing power that you have, that will change the way you look at the peripherals around you." said Heins.

"We're running a few projects in RIM to really understand our vision of mobile computing. How can we...take it to the next stage? Rather than just being another tablet or the next design of the tablet, how can we really add value?"

Mobile computing is the name of the game for BlackBerry, with hopes that its software is licensed by companies outside of the usual field of tech manufacturers, and in other industries; specifically the automotive industry and health care services.

BlackBerry's PlayBook was one of the final projects spearheaded by former Research in Motion (RIM) CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Basillie. The tablet failed to diverge much attention away from the Apple iPad when it launched in 2011, selling as few as 2-million units in the two years that followed.