Reminiscing like it was yesterday, the world was watching Mike Lazaridis on stage at DevCon 2010 holding the newly announced BlackBerry PlayBook tablet in what signaled a new era for the company. Unfortunately, BlackBerry’s only tablet was marred by delays and a lack of an app ecosystem, which doomed it from the get-go and left the company without a competitive product in that market segment.
Although the PlayBook has its limitations, its owners (myself included) still love it, and would definitely welcome an updated version. BlackBerry’s latest pre-Chen regime said a tablet was not in the plans as there was no value in it. New management may have a different attitude towards it.
Last week at the BlackBerry Experience event at a sit down with John Sims, President of Enterprise at BlackBerry, the question about a tablet arose. The answer was not at the moment but, “we see value in a tablet and I can tell you that John Chen REALLY likes the idea of a tablet.” That comment made me suspicious and I of course started to dig up info and reach out to everyone for more information. What I learned is very surprising.
BlackBerry is in fact considering a tablet. The tablet niche is not currently a priority for BlackBerry, but it’s something the company believes that they can sell to enterprise customers. Also, the company believes that it can be a huge asset to their entrance in the healthcare and other regulated industries. We were told that BlackBerry and NantHealth are jointly working on a smartphone that will be for the medical sector, but also available to consumers. I believe the new tablet device will have the same availability: built for enterprise and regulated industries, but available for the consumer too. BlackBerry also believes that the introduction of an Android storefront (i.e., 1Mobile or Amazon) to BlackBerry 10 can help with the content needed to sell a device like this. The belief is that if the hardware division sees stabilization this next BlackBerry tablet may be slated for Q4 of 2015.
Hardware specification for the rumored tablet is not yet available, but we’ll keep digging for more information. Additionally, let it be clear that while the company is considering plans for another tablet, it may not ever come to fruition. The management team of John Chen has an ear in the market and will respond accordingly.
Are you excited about the possibility of a new BlackBerry Tablet? Sound off in the comments.