Should BlackBerry make a new tablet?

Should BlackBerry make a new tablet?

Summary: After the launch of the Z10 smartphone, speculation turns to whether BlackBerry should offer a follow-up to its PlayBook slate, despite lackluster sales.

TOPICS: BlackBerry, Tablets

As BlackBerry fights for its life with its new Z10 smartphone, some have turned their attention to whether or not the company should re-enter the tablet market after its PlayBook didn't set the world on fire. That speculation was fueled from comments by Blackberry exec David J Smith, who told The Wall Street Journal earlier this week that a new BlackBerry tablet was under consideration.

(Image: BlackBerry)

Smith said the company is still "very interested" in the tablet space and feels there is room for "a range of different products", while acknowledging that it is a "challenging market". BlackBerry has learned that the hard way, when the PlayBook was greeted with a collective "meh" by the buying public, even after numerous price cuts.

Of course, the firm has developed the new BlackBerry 10 OS, so it's only natural that it should think about rolling out new devices that make the most of it. And while Apple has sold millions upon millions of iPads, and Amazon and Samsung have sold millions of Android-based tablets, there's still plenty of jostling left for control of the enterprise market, where the BlackBerry was king not so long ago. (In fact, the question of whether BlackBerry 10 could revitalize enterprise interest was the subject of our recent great debate.)

The tablet market is so enticing that HP has even rejoined the fray, though it's starting out with an Android model that taps into thousands and thousands of apps. With its own ecosystem, BlackBerry will have a tougher sell, and frankly it would need to unleash something completely innovative and/or dirt cheap to get sales and not just internet buzz.

Is the risk worth it for the teetering BlackBerry to offer a PlayBook successor? What would it take for you to buy a new BlackBerry tablet? Let us know in the Talkback section below.

Topics: BlackBerry, Tablets

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  • BB10 is completely innovative

    & looks so far like the Z10 is a big hit with 50% of Z10 buyers dumping i-phone & Android for it, but another tablet is very premature at this point
    • Go Ahead BB

      Here's is what need to be done on their new tablet, if they do it. I had mine for a year and a half.

      - Same overall size, but larger screen that goes through the end of each corners.
      - Better overall performance, faster CPU. The browser lags on large web pages
      - Lighter and a thinner
      - The Sound is very good, keep those tinny efficient speakers.
      - Better battery life by at least 2 hours
      - Keep the casing material used, it is very rugged
      • One more thing

        I find that, even with wifi turned off, when the Playbook as locked - i.e. sleeping, the battery gets drained pretty quickly compared to an iPad, so surely there's a way to make that better. I think that's just an OS/firmware issue though - no need for new hardware for this one(?)
    • Really? There's not a single innovative thing in BB10.

      BB10 sales are off to a horrible start. Even post BB10 release more waves of enterprises and government departments have announced the're done with BB and moving elsewhere. Only the diehards who've been carrying both a BB and real smartphone have been going back to it. And that 50%, it's probably 49.9 android and .1 iphone with the android ones being people still with froyo phones.
      Johnny Vegas

        We now know Z10 sales to date are likely nothing to scoff at, however — BlackBerry’s Z10 is outselling the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S III at a major Canadian retailer — and BGR has confirmed an even more important indicator of BlackBerry’s early success: Half of BlackBerry Z10 sales in Canada and one-third of UK sales have been made to users coming from other platforms"
        • but how many people is that 50%?

          BB board members were quoted as saying they HOPED to sell 100,000 Z10's by the end of the first quarter. that's not the number sold, not even the number they will sell. that's the number they hope to sell.

          assuming the Z10 makes BB's dreams and sells 100,000 units by the end of the quarter, and android users still make up 50% of those sales by the end of the quarter, that's 50,000 people switching from android/iPhone. android has several million new activations per day. iPhone is less than android but still huge. 50,000 people is a drop in the bucket. and nothing says those people will stick to the Z10- they might sell their Z10's and go back to android/iPhone.

          now add on to all of this that BB is a Canadian company, and BB automatically has most of its sales in Canada these days. it's not sounding that impressive to me.
          • read it again

            Z10 phones are _outselling_ iphone and android at major retailers in UK and Canada. The 50% is an interesting subset of the former fact.
          • Z10 not a best seller in UK

            "Z10 phones are _outselling_ iphone and android at major retailers in UK and Canada"

            Whilst they are in Canada, they are not outselling the competition across the UK. Here they outsold the iPhone and Androids on launch day in a handful of stores, but business is back to usual now with it lacking behind.

            The fact that the Canadian company is doing well on its home turf is very similar to how the Nokia Lumia series is the most popular smartphone in Finland. Hardly representative of a handset or platform's success.
          • Wrong, read it and weep

            "BlackBerry Outselling the iPhone5 and the Galaxy S3 in the UK's Largest Retail Store and Crushing them in Business Sales"

          • Now the bears (canaccord) are predicting 800K units in a 2 month quarter


            "With the Z10 launching in additional markets the last weeks of February, they have increased their February quarter BB10 smartphone sell in estimate from 300K to 800K units."
        • Blackberry might be a Fail

          Has Blackberry officially released any sales numbers? I believe numbers are going to disappoint the fanboys and shareholders. the phone has no apps, half as many apps as WP which people complain has no app, and the ported android apps are unusable. the phone keeping apps running in memory drains the battery unacceptably fast, no gorilla glass used. Camera isn't the best, very bad night shots. the z10 is no competition to the top runners and maybe not even competition to WP which has a whole ecosystem.
  • Pay attention...

    Please pay some level of attention to tech news. Then you'll know the company is called BlackBerry, and no longer Research in Motion.

    Since January.
  • Why not?

    The complaints with the PlayBook have always been software so if the new OS is good and has a lot of apps, it would be a good move, if they can sell them for a profit or if selling them helps their overall profitability. You may need to lose money in one area to be seen as a complete solution.
    Susan Antony
  • Teetering no more

    I think the initial sales reports have indicated that BB is no longer teetering. They are a solid 3rd at least in all of the markets in which the product has been launched.
    Susan Antony
  • I would concentrate on the phone sector

    the tablet space got crowded, and will get even more croweded in the next few months. With the Galaxy 8 available, Apple will release something new in the year, and the Surface Pro and other PC in a tablet form ready to release new models, Would it be smart for BB to tie up cash in creating and then trying to market a tablet of their own?

    Sure, it would likely appeal to the BB market, but is that enough?
    William Farrel
    • Thinking the Same

      I'd add, BlackBerry has had large layoffs, so there are fewer resources. The historical precedents are not good for the Canadian company. Their BB10 phones are their last chance to reverse trends. All in. Do one's best.
  • they have no choice

    The playbook was the right idea but the wrong product. There is still a need for a well designed enterprise ready tablet. So far no one has gotten close to the right mix of usability, security, and price. There is a huge opportunity there for the company that gets it right.
  • a resounding no

    They need to focus on leading the way to proper mobile computing. Not playing catch up in a saturated tablet biz
  • BB10 on the PlayBook?

    BlackBerry alway intended to put the BB10 OS on the their existing PlayBook tablets. In fact the BB10 OS is derived from the PlayBook OS and current owners of the PlayBook can expect an OS upgrade that will harmonize their tablets with their BB10 phones, if they have one. If the strong sales of the BB10 phones continue, which I fully expect they will since it is an excellent phone with an excellent OS, then I am sure BlackBerry will continue to make improvements to their PlayBook line of tablets.
    Since BlackBerry never left the tablet market as the author seems to be implying, I have to wonder if this is another case of sloppy ZDnet "journalism," or just more FUD rhetoric meant to mislead and deceive readers that come to ZDnet looking for honest, professional opinion? Unfortunately, it is beginning to look more like the later.
  • Playbook owners love it

    Consumer reviews of the Playbook were highly favorable, it was only snooty iJournalists that trashed it because it didnt sell like their precious iPad actually met BB modest sales expectations and paved the way for BB10 phones, if it wasn't for the Playbook their wouldn't be 100k apps today.