In a statement that will surely be misinterpreted by 80% of the tech press, BlackBerry VP of Global Product Management Francois Mahieu told Pocket-lint at MWC that the company was open to the idea of producing a successor to the maligned PlayBook tablet. To ensure there’s no confusion, I’ve reprinted Mahieu’s words in their entirety below.
“Would BlackBerry consider one day re-entering the tablet market? Yes. Will BlackBerry do it in the coming months? No. When we launched PlayBook, beyond the fact that everybody knows that PlayBook was no a huge success, everybody loved it. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a meeting one day and I show you a tablet. We have equity in that space, but we’re not ready. We need more time.”
BlackBerry would consider, one day, re-entering the tablet market. Given the number of (seven and ten inch) PlayBook prototype successors that were killed prior to new CEO John Chen’s arrival, and that Chen himself has wondered publicly if BlackBerry will even remain a hardware manufacturer, I do not think that day is coming any time soon. His misguided opinion on any equity BlackBerry might maintain in the tablet space aside, Mahieu’s response is likely best taken as a well-intentioned but overly honest response to a reasonable question that can be easily manipulated for page views. BlackBerry needs more than time before it releases another tablet; it needs to survive.
Disclosure: I used to work for BlackBerry from 2009-2011. I still think PlayBook is a pretty cool name for a tablet despite how things turned out.