The Biggest Buzz at BlackBerry Live Wasn’t an Announcement, but a Rumour

BlackBerry Live, the company’s annual conference in Orlando, wrapped up today.

Here’s some of the major announcement BlackBerry made during the event:

– The company created a mobile social network built on its BBM app called Channels.

– BlackBerry Messenger will be coming to iOS and Android this summer for free.

– BlackBerry World now has more than 120,000 apps.

– The company unveiled the Q5, a mid-range smartphone.

But the biggest buzz came from something that went entirely unmentioned by BlackBerry officials: the rumour of a small tablet and/or a giant phone – a “phablet.”



For many attendees, the bubbling conversation surrounding this long-rumoured device overshadowed the news announced by BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins during his keynote.

Quoth the Financial Post:

Heins has been far from enthusiastic about the future of tablets, but he hasn’t ruled them out. When he met with some industry analysts for a private conversation on Tuesday he didn’t lead them to believe a tablet would hit shelves in the immediate future, said two analysts who asked to remain anonymous because they made non-disclosure agreements. Both acknowledged that they were told a tablet-like device is at the stage where it is nearly ready to hit the market, though neither of them expected to see it released this year.

The CEO also promised to update the software on the company’s existing but now antiquated (and poorly selling) PlayBook tablet, though never offered a firm release date for that either.

National Bank analyst Kris Thompson published a note Wednesday which described the “phantom tablet” as the “main conference chatter”of Live. “We had a conversation with one important US carrier that indicated a larger Z10 version would be launched later this year or early next year,” he wrote.

All that’s left to say is: time will tell.