BlackBerry pins future hopes on phablet

The tablet boat has sailed, admits CEO, but claims the company could be ahead of the curve with a phablet

Jane McCallion
10 Jun 2014

BlackBerry's CEO John Chen has hinted his company's next device could be a phablet.

Chen admitted the company was "already late" to the tablet market, in an interview with The Jakarta Post.

However, he said the phablet market was still in a growth phase, suggesting a BlackBerry phablet could be an "early" entrant.

"I think if you look at our strategy and if you look at where the market goes, there is definitely a good market for something between a phone and tablet," Chen told The Post.

What we think

Jon Bray, reviews editor: BlackBerry is really scraping the bottom of the barrel here. The firm has singularly failed to keep up with Apple, Samsung and others in recent years in the flagship smartphone space, thanks to huge delays to OS 10 and a lack of competitive hardware, and a series of crass decisions over the PlayBook doomed it in the tablet segment.

The only space left for its hardware division to try its hand at is “phablets”, but with Samsung, Nokia and a slew of others already producing smartphones of the larger variety, we suspect that the bungling BlackBerry will be late to this sector as well.

Chen didn't write off the tablet market completely, saying there is the possibility of success if BlackBerry is able to inject some kind of new technology. However, given the choice he "will go to phablet".

"We will build what the market wants," he said.

While the company is focusing on producing new consumer devices such as the Z3 smartphone - and presumably the new phablet - it is not abandoning its enterprise roots either, Chen said.

"We have a lot of products in the enterprise spaces coming out... [like] BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) for enterprises, called e-BBM, starting in June this year," he said.

"The whole idea for BlackBerry in the future is we will build infrastructure that connects everything: mobile, internet protocol [IP] addresses, everything," he added.

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