Finnish phone maker developing Windows 8 tablet to compete with iPad. But should the company keep its focus on smartphones?
Marko Ahtisaari, Nokia's chief of design, told Finnish magazine Kauppalehti Optio that he is spending about one-third of his work time on a tablet for the maker of cell phones. When asked about the company's tablet plans, Ahtisaari responded by saying, "We are working on it."
Nokia's tablet, said Ahtisaari, would stand apart from the onslaught of Android hardware looking to steal share from Apple's iPad. In other words, Ahtisaari believes Nokia's tablet actually has a chance to compete with the iPad.
Ahtisaari's stance echoes comments made earlier by Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who believes that current iPad competitors aren't doing it right. Elop implied that Nokia is going to take a different approach, one that might be more successful against Apple.
Why is that? Probably because it will run Windows 8. Nokia hasn't confirmed that, of course, but it is widely believed that Nokia will use the Windows-on-ARM set up for its tablet computer.
"We continue to eye the tablet space with interest, but have made no specific announcements," said a Nokia rep to Reuters.
For the past year, Nokia has worked with Microsoft to bring Windows Phone devices to market. The result, so far, is the Lumia line of devices, which includes the 900, 800, 710, and 610. These devices marry Nokia's prowess in hardware design with Microsoft's platform. Given the tight partnership between the two companies and the work Nokia has done for the Windows Phone platform, it wouldn't make sense for Nokia to choose any platform for a tablet other than Windows 8.
But a tablet should not be Nokia's top priority right now.
The company only recently brought its Lumia smartphone line to the market. In fact, only two of the four devices (Lumia 800 and Lumia 710) are shipping. The 800 is available in the U.S. to those willing to plunk down $899 for an "entertainment bundle" that includes a series of Bluetooth accessories. The Lumia 710 has been available from T-Mobile for two months now. The Lumia 900 and 610 won't go on sale for at least another month. The Lumia 900 is set to be a kingslayer device for AT&T, with its large display, excellent camera, and LTE 4G. The Lumia 610 probably won't reach the U.S. market.
Phones are Nokia's core business. Nokia needs to turn its smartphone business around before it does anything else. While a tablet is perhaps a good strategic choice down the line, Nokia has to address its meat-and-potatoes before it gets to side dishes.
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