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BlackBerry CEO Commends Apple’s Innovative Products but Dated User Interface


BlackBerry’s CEO, Thorsten Heins, has been in Australia leading up to the launch today of the BlackBerry Z10. Australia is a huge market for BlackBerry so a win there is important. He sat down with Australian Financial Review to discuss BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerrys future. One of the big buzzword quotes from the interview was one of the CEO’s first quotes about the competition:

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,” Mr Heins said.

“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.”

Heins did a great job of staying on message and stating something that is simply a fact. The user interface on iOS is dated and designed for a time before today’s multitasking app boom. Heins also mentioned that he has no plans to jump into the tablet space too soon especially considering the slim margins that current tablet makers are taking. He is looking to offer something beyond just the plain tablet experience.

Also worth mentioning is that Heins did not agree that BlackBerry 10 is a “do or die” moment for BlackBerry. He said it was “vital to make waves with the phones” but BlackBerry is nowhere near “teetering on a precipice.” They have a solid balance sheet and no debt and the real product that they are betting on is BlackBerry 10 as a platform. Here is what he had to say:

“In the context of the financial viability of the company that is where I shake my head sometimes and wonder what everyone is talking about. The company has no debt, I will report pretty good cash position by the end of March in my earnings call, so I think we did a really diligent job in, not just keeping the company afloat, but also bringing it back to health,” Mr Heins said.

He said success with its latest phones was hugely important in the near term, but BlackBerry was focused on establishing BB10 as a broader mobile computing platform.

5 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Absolutely agree with Thorstein and a great interview. However, I believe BlackBerry should continue to pursue the tablet market to ensure the Playbook’s lives up to its potential. Apple is showing signs of an aging OS and Z10 is coming up with a brand new OS.

  2. Agree @dpr. So peeved with hearing the uncertainty with tablets from BlackBerry. Like I’ve posted before, here and elsewhere, the PlayBook had quite a few disadvantages, most of it related to RIM’s corporate health and uncertainty surrounding that, plus the incomplete original OS, it’s link via BB Bridge to a BB smartphone market that was shrinking, and no BBM! Let’s not talk about the bizarre pricing strategy that was all over the place.

    The PlayBook is solid and with BB10, it will be a fantastic tablet. I have 4 PlayBooks in my house. Can’t wait for the OS update, but I hope we will see refresh PlayBooks this year, with upgraded RAM and CPU, and fresh new PlayBooks next year.

  3. Sure BB10 on PB can be viewed as an experiment, but the longer vision must include tablets. Phones are great, but perhaps BB may want folks to sync their BB10s to some other platform moving into the future. What about screen space for certain high performance apps? Yes, there is HDMI out, but there is still room for a device for real estate agents, teachers, students, doctors, photographers, pilots, etc. Thor should not limit the market for BB10 just yet. Tablets are the future, replacing laptops. BT keyboards can be used in place of build-in keyboards – see Windows’ Surface tablets. They are moving into the future. Thor should not close the door when QNX can scale so well.

  4. First of all, good title to this article. Better than those shock value titles I’ve seen from other news websites.

    I don’t think they should pursue the tablet market either. It’d be a waste of money right now and not worth it. Not even Samsung could dent the iPad’s fortress in that industry. An update for current PlayBook owners to BB10 would be better.

    Curious to know what other markets Heins wants to be in. At least he knows he shouldn’t be betting the entire future of the company and its employees on the shoulders of just smartphones.

    • Thanks Linda we try not to do the linkbait that you might find elsewhere. I think BlackBerry has some plans for the PlayBook line in the future but right now they need to first figure out how to translate BlackBerry 10 UI to a tablet

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