Recently, BlackBerry’s CEO has been quoted as saying:
“In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet any more. Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model.”
Sanusi already has a detailed analysis of the tablets situation over at TechSuplex, and it is summarised in this single sentence: Besides Apple and Samsung, no other OEM makes decent money off tablets. Everyone else is struggling to make anything off tablets. Everyone else. The reasons why Apple and Samsung are able to pull it off are clearly and excellently stated in Sanusi’s article and won’t be rehashed here, so go read it up.
As for the future of tablets, I do not know whether or not tablets will be redundant in five (5) years or not. However, I can say that with smartphones inching closer and closer towards tablet sizes, I suspect that many mobile users will not be needing a tablet sooner or later. We see monster phones pushing the size envelope. If I carry a Samsung Galaxy Mega with a 6.3 inch display, would I really need a tablet? Certainly not a 7-inch tablet. Perhaps 7-inch tablets will be redundant in five (5) years then? There is a strong possibility of that.
What of 10-inch tablets? Things are not so clear. They are almost as large as netbooks, yet are much less functional. They are not as portable as 7-inch tablets and smartphones, yet do not offer anything extra beyond the larger display size. Again, if someone owns a 7-inch tablet, do they normally also purchase a 10-inch tablet? Usually not. So, if I own a Samsung Galaxy Mega (which is a good replacement for a 7-inch tablet), what are the chances that I would also purchase and carry a 10-inch tablet? Next to none.
Perhaps, tablets won’t be totally redundant in five years. Perhaps it will happen in ten (10) years instead. Perhaps the BlackBerry CEO, while right about tablets being a bad business model, stretched things about their redundancy, and so perhaps it will probably never happen. I agree that the tablet is a bad business model, but I tend to think that he stretched things about tablets not being needed in another five years. Still, time will tell. Five years is a long period of time in mobile.