Just as BlackBerry's new Z10 smartphone goes on sale in the US, CEO Thorsten Heins is looking ten years into the future. In an interview with ABC's Joanna Stern, Heins said his company's goal was to make BlackBerry phones a central computing hub that could replace dedicated laptops or tablets. "We are talking about a mobile computing experience that makes sure that for you as a user, you only have to carry one computing device... then you get peripherals around it that make your life much more easy than it is today carrying a tablet, carrying a smartphone, carrying a laptop, going to your office and having a desktop."
"There are various configurations you can think about."
Heins' idea has been a mainstay of the mobile market for years. Motorola's now-discontinued Lapdock powered a notebook-style screen and keyboard with a phone, and Asus has released a line of PadFone cellphones that dock into tablet-style peripherals. When asked about whether he was planning similar products, Heins said "There are various configurations you can think about. We are working on a few of those, so allow me to not comment on those in depth. But we will talk about a few of those concepts at BlackBerry World."
There's certainly interest in shifting more computing tasks to mobile, but the notion of docking devices doesn't have the strongest pedigree. Motorola phased out the Lapdock in October 2012 because of poor sales, and the PadFone and PadFone 2 haven't managed to break into the mainstream. BlackBerry, meanwhile, has few opportunities left for failure: it's counting on BlackBerry 10 to turn around its ongoing financial tailspin. Long seen as a go-to device for business and government, the company is losing that distinction as competitors like Apple or Samsung create similar secure alternatives — though Heins has struck back at the latter, saying that its Android platform was inherently insecure. "You don't know how many keys you've given to the main door of your house because it's open software," he said in an interview with CNET. "So what are you trying to do? You're locking the windows."