Wednesday, March 27, 2013

BlackBerry pondering smartphone-driven tablets and laptops

blackberry phone tablet laptop convergence
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins says his company wants to be the first to figure out how to use a smartphone to power other devices like tablets and notebooks the right way. Heins knows BlackBerry wouldn’t be the first to attempt this kind of convergence, but that doesn’t mean the opportunity doesn’t exist — especially for a company with BlackBerry’s history in the enterprise.
Heins talks about building your digital day around a single device that interfaces with peripherals, rather than dealing with several independent devices. For businesses, it’s an appealing proposition: one device to deploy and manage. The downside, of course, is that it’s also a single point of failure. If the smartphone takes a dirt nap, a user is totally out of commission if it’s the brains of the operation.
Still, there are plenty in the tech world who think it’s an idea worth pursuing. Motorola pitched something similar with the Atrix and its lapdock, and Asus is working away on its third Padfone design. None of these early attempts has been particularly successful so far. BlackBerry, too, has dabbled. When the PlayBook launched, BlackBerry Bridge allowed users to access select apps and data from their phones. That’s nowhere near the kind of convergence Heins was talking about in his interview with ABC. Can BlackBerry really pull it off?
It’s a big gamble for BlackBerry to take while the company is still trying to pull off what’s possibly the biggest tech industry turnaround ever. Things are looking good so far for BlackBerry 10 and the flagship Z10, but Blackberry has had success before with smartphones. Tablets? Not so much. Laptops? No way.
That said, BlackBerry is a company fighting for its life. If Heins is convinced that it can make a splash by offering consumers and businesses a truly compelling convergent experience, now is the time to try. He’ll be making an appearance at BlackBerry World 2013 in Orlando in May, so you won’t have to wait much longer to find out what BlackBerry is cooking up.

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