BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins has questioned the future of tablets, believing the device will have no reason to exist in as little as five years.
“In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore,” Heins told Bloomberg.
“Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such.
"Tablets themselves are not a good business model.”
Yet the CEO was shot down in flames by some industry figures, including Forbes Magazine and research firm Yankee Group, who predicted the exact opposite for the device.
Believing Heins to be 'chalking the tablet craze up to nothing more than a fad', Yankee Group vice president of Research Wally Swain dismissed the claims.
“This comment makes me think of the adage, ‘We over-estimate the impact of technology in the short term and underestimate it in the long term', he says.
But with tablets already shrinking and smartphones growing, Swain acknowledged the screen size gap is down to less than two inches.
"It seems natural to project the gap will disappear in a so-called phablet with perhaps a 6.5-inch screen that fits the bill," he says.
"I think it’s entirely possible Heins is right in the long term—that a truly portable device will become the norm—but I think five years may be ambitious.
"Still, I think there are human factors that may take a generation or so to overcome, long past the time when technological problems have been solved, perhaps 10 or 15 years."
Long live the tablet?
"The first is the keyboard," says Swain, citing reasons why the tablet will live long in the industry.
"Maybe the current generation will be comfortable typing long emails and notes on a phablet but they do not dominate device sales yet.
"The second is screen size, the population is getting older not younger in most countries and that means less acute vision, not more.
"The third is simply clothing, where do you carry a phablet, especially for males?
"Women often carry purses or bags, but men typically carry their phones in their pockets, which today will not accommodate a 6.5-inch phablet.
"Changing the habits of clothing manufacturers may take a lot more time than figuring out how to improve predictive typing or build a low-cost crystal-clear 6.5 inch HD display.”
Is the tablet simply a 'fad'? Will it last five years? Tell us your thoughts below