BlackBerry boss: taking on iPad "doesn't make sense"

BlackBerry chief Thorsten Heins says it would make no sense for his company to launch a direct iPad rival

Dave Stevenson
18 Mar 2013

The head of BlackBerry says the company made mistakes with its initial foray into tablet computing.

Speaking to The Australian Financial Review, CEO Thorsten Heins said he "wouldn’t want to do it the same way again", adding that profitability in the tablet market was "very thin".

"Kudos to Apple," he said. "I think it really managed to own that space so it doesn’t makes sense for [BlackBerry] to just take this head on."

BlackBerry’s current tablet offering is the PlayBook, a 3G, 7in tablet that arrived in the UK to reasonably positive reviews in May 2011. However, its impact has been limited, hindered by a combination of uncompetitive pricing at launch, strong offerings from Apple and Samsung, and a lack of native email support for almost eight months after its release.

The PlayBook’s dual-core, 1.5GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 1,024 x 600 touchscreen are now looking decidedly long in the tooth: since the device arrived in April 2011, Apple has announced no fewer than three new tablets across two different form factors.

The choppy waters encountered by the PlayBook means Heins is hedging his bets. "If I do something around tablets, I want it to be really substantial and meaningful," he said. "Quite frankly, it would need to be profitable as well."

Heins’ comments come only a month after he told Reuters BlackBerry didn’t plan to abandon tablets. "I’m not getting out of the tablet business," he said. "I’ve asked my teams to build another [tablet], but I need to make money from it. If the hardware doesn’t provide the margins I need, then it makes no sense in doing it."

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