The world's largest cell phone manufacturer is "actively looking" at entering the laptop market, according to a recent Finnish television interview by CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo.
While Nokia leads the cell phone market by a large percentage, Kallasvuo has said he wants the company to branch out beyond just making mobile phones. Until now, most industry watchers thought this meant Nokia would focus on offering things like Comes With Music, navigation, and social networking services.
But as handsets become more sophisticated and capable, the line between what is a smartphone and what is a laptop is slowly disappearing. With the mobile market expected to decline in 2009, Nokia potentially sees room for growth in this converged category.
"We don't have to look even for five years from now to see that what we know as a mobile phone and what we know as a PC are in many ways converging," Kallasvuo said. "Today we have hundreds of millions of people who are having their first Internet experience on the phone. This is a good indication."
If Nokia were to enter the space, it's doubtful the company would make high-end laptops to compete with the likes of Apple's MacBook line. The cell phone maker would likely enter the booming netbook market and include a cellular modem capable of receiving 3G mobile broadband.
"All leading mobile network operators and retailers are adding connected notebooks and netbooks to their portfolios alongside mobile phones," Ben Wood, research director at CCS Insight, told Reuters. "On this basis it comes as no surprise that Nokia is evaluating this segment."
Nokia's interest in the space comes a few weeks after laptop maker Acer jumped into the smartphone market with its Tempo line of Windows Mobile devices. Dell is also said to be working on its own smartphone to capitalize on the growing trend of mobile computing.
The convergence in mobile computing may be closer than you think, as modern smartphones can already handle many mission-critical enterprise applications. InformationWeek examined how smartphones could become a laptop replacement. Download the report (registration required).