BlackBerry 10 is a portable brain that plugs into any computer -- so you won't need a laptop. That's according to eternally optimistic BlackBerry boss Thorsten Heins, who reckons the humble laptop will be obsolete in three years.
"Whenever you enter an office, you don’t have your laptop with you, you have your mobile computer power exactly here," says Heins, brandishing a Blackberry 10 phone. Speaking to the New York Times, Heins asserts, "You will not carry a laptop within three to five years."
A bold claim, and not an unreasonable one. But if the laptop as we know it disappears in the next few years, I question how much BlackBerry will have to do with it. the laptop is ideal for more involved work not because of the extra power it packs over a phone, but because of the size and shape. If anything kills laptops, surely it'll be bigger devices like the iPad or Windows 8 hybrids.
But Heins suggests you won't need to carry larger devices to benefit from bigger screens and keyboards. Instead, your BlackBerry will be like a digital brain that you plug into workstations wherever you happen to sit down to work.
Heins also explains that BlackBerry 10 phones lack a home button because you don't need to return to a homescreen to switch apps. Instead you move directly between apps with a flick of the thumb. Messages are integrated across the system so you can see emails and texts and social updates from a contact next to their name in the address book app -- and even see the latest news associated with their company.
The next generation of BlackBerry is coming in the new year. Research in Motion will unveil the BlackBerry 10 operating system on 30 January, along with the first two phones to be powered by the new software. The new phones are expected in February -- one with a touchscreen and one with signature clicky keyboard -- at which point you can chuck out your laptop, presumably.
There's a lot riding on the success of BlackBerry 10 -- even before you consider it's going to decide the fate of the laptop. RIM has seen an astonishing 90 per cent wiped off its share price in the past four years as customers jump ship to Android and iPhone -- but Thorsten Heins is characteristically upbeat. "I don’t expect things to get much worse," he said. Ah.
Will BlackBerry 10 kill the laptop, or should RIM be thankful if it can claw back a fraction of the ground lost to Android and the iPhone? And is the laptop on its way out? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.