Nokia isn’t exactly a newcomer to the tablet market. They were behind some fairly nice devices in this area even before the iPad took off and brought the form into the mainstream. It’s been years since we’ve seen anything from them, though. Apparently they feel that now is the time to make a big entrance back into tablets with a Windows 8-based revival.
Comments made by Nokia CEO Stephen Elop recently seem to indicate that they are working on something interesting as we speak. Specifically, in an interview with Australian Financial Review he was reported as saying:
“We haven’t announced tablets at this point, but it is something we are clearly looking at very closely.”
“We are studying very closely the market right now as Microsoft has introduced the Surface tablet, so we are trying to learn from that and understand what the right way to participate would be and at what point in time.”
While he later made a point of keeping Android devices an option, Windows 8 and Microsoft are the company’s first focus. This comes as no surprise given the close relationship between the two companies. The Lumia 920 is widely considered the default Windows Phone for newcomers to the rapidly growing ecosystem.
The explicit mention of Microsoft’s Surface line would also appear to play a part in the decision-making process. Assuming that the reaction to these products has some bearing on Nokia’s choices and that they use the Surface as a baseline for new developments as many analysts suspect Microsoft intended, this lets us draw a few fairly solid conclusions.
We’re far more likely to see a Nokia tablet running Windows 8 rather than Windows RT. While the numbers for the Surface RT are still up in the air somewhat, especially recently, there can be no doubt that the critical reception for the Surface Pro is far more positive even with the higher price tag factored in.
This is also likely to be something a bit smaller than the Surface. The Lumia is known for its impressive imaging capabilities. No matter what some people might wish for, there is no way to hold up something as large as an iPad to take a picture without looking ridiculous. If they are going to make this work while playing to the existing strengths of their products, Nokia will have to adapt their specs accordingly. You could have the greatest camera in the world, but it will hardly ever be used if you put it on a bulky, unwieldy tablet.
The potential for integration with a larger network of devices has a lot of appeal in a case like this. Windows Phones, Windows Tablets, and Xbox Consoles all come together to create a usefully interconnected experience. If Nokia can make themselves a strong niche as part of that while Microsoft continues to push for wider adoption, it could be a great move for the company. This relies on Microsoft being able to succeed in convincing people that an integrated Windows 8-based home experience is good to have, but we’re seeing some progress along those lines already.