Monday, July 1, 2013

BlackBerry Chooses to End Manufacture of PlayBook Tablet

blackberry playbook.jpg
As the iPad and Android tablets grew in popularity, many companies jumped on the idea of tablet based computing.  Of course the operating system is very, very important to consumers.
Thus it was interesting to me when BlackBerry originally announced that they were entering the tablet market.  Their device, called the BlackBerry Playbook, ran the BlackBerry OS (of course).  At the time (and really even now) BlackBerry was struggling with sales of their smartphone as iOS and Android gained more and more marketshare while their App Stores sold an ever increasing number of apps that allowed users to do tons of things we never dreamed we could do with phones & tablets.
Lots of people, myself included, wondered what the heck BlackBerry was doing.  They were struggling selling handsets and *now* they wanted to sell tablets too?  It just didn't make much sense.
It turned out that it wasn't the best decision.  While BlackBerry had (and continues to have) a pretty diehard and dedicated user base, no one really seemed interested in a BlackBerry OS based tablet device.  To make that point as clearly as I can, in the first quarter of 2013 BlackBerry sold 100,000 Playbooks.  During that same time period, Apple sold 19,500,000 iPads.  That's quite a difference.
So… it comes as no surprise that BlackBerry CEO Thorstein Heins announced that the company has pulled the plug on the PlayBook.  This despite a recent announcement from the company that the devices would receive a BlackBerry OS 10 update.  However, now the company has reversed that decision and made the difficult call to end the manufacture of a device that just wasn't going to be a competitor.
I applaud them for this move.  While it is always difficult to admit something isn't working, it also shows dedication and smart business sense.  I also like competition and I think this makes them a more viable company for the long haul.
If you happen to have been one of the folks who purchased a Playbook, they will still support the devices, they just won't be making any more.

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