Nokia plans on launching a Windows 8 tablet sometime in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to unnamed sources speaking to DigiTimes.
The March 12 article suggested that Nokia would outsource the actual tablet production to Compal Electronics, and that the first shipment would total 200,000 units. Sources among upstream component suppliers predicted that Nokias venture into the tablet PC market will also further intensify competition among non-iPad tablet PC vendors.
The tablet itself will reportedly feature a 10-inch screen and a Qualcomm dual-core chipset.
Whether that report proves accurate, the idea of a Nokia tablet running Windows 8 isnt exactly far-fetched. The Finnish phone-maker and Microsoft already have a tight relationship centered on Windows Phone, which replaced Symbian and other homegrown platforms as the formers primary mobile operating system.
Moreover, Nokia clearly recognizes the need to expand onto form factors beyond smartphones. In a form filed March 8 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company suggests that adjacent products, such as tablets, could potentially threaten its attempts to gain market share in smartphones, since consumers and businesses increasingly bind themselves into multiple-device ecosystems from a single vendor.
If our competitors succeed in capturing markets where we are not currently present, this could erode our competitive position, read one section of the filing. For instance, we currently do not have tablets or other adjacent products in our mobile product portfolio, which may result in our inability to compete effectively in the tablet and developing multi-screen market segments in the future or forgoing those potential growth opportunities.
Whether the recognition of that threat translates into a tablet is an open question, although rumors of such a device have persisted for some time before the DigiTimes report. Certainly Nokias engineers have demonstrated a willingness to experiment with technology. Its recently unveiled PureView smartphone, for example, features a 41-megapixel camera sensor backed by new recording and image technology.
For the moment, however, Nokia seems focused on establishing itself as the preeminent purveyor of Windows Phones, having introduced models at the high (the Lumia 900), medium (the Lumia 710) and low (Lumia 610) price points.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is ramping up Windows 8 for its final release sometime in late 2012. The upcoming operating system features a start screen of colorful, touch-friendly tiles linked to applications, the better to operate on tablets.