Blackberry CEO foresees market decline for tablets

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Blackberry CEO foresees market decline for tablets

BlackBerry Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins said the popularity of tablet computers may wane, an indication the company may shelve a follow-up to its ill-fated PlayBook device.

“In five years, I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore,” Heins said Tuesday at the Milken Institute conference in Los Angeles. “Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model.”

Heins is rethinking whether to offer larger devices even as the company pushes ahead with fresh smartphones built on the new BlackBerry 10 platform. The PlayBook, introduced in 2011, was panned by critics for debuting without built-in e-mail, delivering the tablet a near-fatal blow. Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry took a $485 million charge later that year to write down unsold inventory after shipping as few as 150,000 PlayBooks in the third quarter of 2012.

Heins said in a January interview he’ll consider a PlayBook successor only if it can be profitable. He reiterated Tuesday that a BlackBerry tablet has to offer a unique proposition in a crowded market.

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