BlackBerry's CEO has dismissed the iPhone as out of date but also played down the possibility of launching a follow-up to its Playbook tablet.
In an interview with the Australian Financial Review to mark the launch of its Z10 smartphones, which went on sale in the UK in January, Thorsten Heins became the latest manufacturer to attack Apple. He said: 'Apple did a fantastic job in bringing touch devices to market ... They did a fantastic job with the user interface, they are a design icon. There is a reason why they were so successful, and we actually have to admit this and respect that.
'History repeats itself again I guess ... The rate of innovation is so high in our industry that if you don’t innovate at that speed you can be replaced pretty quickly. The user interface on the iPhone, with all due respect for what this invention was all about, is now five years old.'
While the manufacturer has put the bulk of its efforts into producing its new generation of smartphones, it has been silent about its tablet offer. The PlayBooks flopped and led BlackBerry to write off almost half a billion dollars in late 2011 because of unsold stock. Heins admited the company made mistakes and was overly ambitious in launching the products without native email and a poor apps ecosystem. He said: 'I wouldn’t want to do it the same way again, if I do something around tablets, I want it to be really substantial and meaningful, and quite frankly it would need to be profitable as well.
'I think the profit pool is very very thin. Kudos to Apple, I think they really managed to own that space, so it doesn’t make sense for me to just take this head on. I need to figure out, for my enterprise customers, for my consumers, for my BB10 audience, what can I do that provides them a mobile computing experience in the form factor of a tablet, which goes beyond just the puristic tablet experience.'
Heins added the company was in continuing talks with Netflix and Instagram about bringing them into BlackBerry's app store. He said he expects 100,000 apps to be available when the Z10 goes on sale in the United States later this week, compared to 70,000 when the BlackBerry flagship went on sale in January.
Author: Graeme Neill