Nokia may be working on yet another Microsoft-based product outside of its Windows Phone Lumia lineup. This time, the Finnish smartphone-maker may be prepping a tablet based on Microsoft’s Windows RT operating system that may be taking center stage at a launch event in February at the Mobile World Congress trade show.
This isn’t the first time that we’ve heard rumors of a Nokia tablet. In the past, through leaks, rumors, and patent application filings, we’ve seen various sketches for a Nokia-branded tablet, and at the time it was believed that Nokia may be using the MeeGo operating system for its tablet strategy. However, after Nokia and Microsoft inked an agreement to move forward with Windows Phone, MeeGo took a back seat and Nokia’s tablet plans were left in limbo.
Now, it seems that Nokia and Microsoft may be trying to figure out how to grow the partnership and bring a stronger portfolio together. The Digitimes report cites that Nokia would be working with Compal to manufacture the tablet based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 processor, making the device an ARM tablet.
Nokia originally planned to develop a 10-inch Windows RT tablet equipped with Qualcomm’s S4 processor in first-quarter 2012, with Compal to undertake ODM production and initial shipments of 200,000 units to test the market, the sources indicated.
But because Microsoft later announced Surface, and the market for Windows 8/RT tablets needed to be proven, Nokia internally focused on smartphones, and delayed the development of the 10-inch Windows RT tablet, the sources pointed out.
In the past, Nokia had worked together with AT&T and Microsoft on a Windows-based netbook with built-in 3G in the form of the connected Booklet 3G. The device has solid build quality, but at the time a weak Intel netbook CPU and a high price tag made the Booklet an unattractive option for many users.
It’s unclear how Nokia would be able to differentiate its Windows RT slate from other tablets on the market. On the smartphone side, Nokia has been able to distinguish itself by producing various phones at various price points, targeting the high end of the market with refined cameras, but these qualities may not be so important with a tablet. For a cash-strapped Nokia, investing in Windows RT at this early stage may be a risky proposition at best considering that Microsoft still has a lot to prove with this new ecosystem.
In addition to Nokia, smartphone rival HTC is also rumored to be working on some Windows RT slates as well.