Nokia Windows 8 Tablet, 3D Communicator Phone in the Works: Rumors

A 2009 Nokia patent for a 3D-making, dual-screen device has some wondering whether Microsoft has revived the project. Also rumored is a Nokia Windows 8 tablet.

Nokia reportedly may be at work on a 3D smartphone for Microsoft, along with a Windows 8 tablet.

While unconfirmed, the 3D-device rumor is being buoyed by the discovery of a patent application that Nokia filed in November 2009 for what it called an "autostereoscopic rendering and display apparatus," according to a May 5 report from Tom's Guide.

A rendering, in the patent application, of a dual-display display device with a hinge keeping the screens at a gentle angle-one is flat, while the other is up perhaps 45 degrees-contains captions explaining how the device's camera tracks the level of the user's eye. "A shadow and reflection rendered on to [the] second screen changes as the eye level changes," states the caption. The patent abstract goes on to describe the device as:
An apparatus comprising a sensor configured to detect the position and orientation of a user viewpoint with respect to an auto-stereoscopic display; a processor configured to determine a surface viewable from the user viewpoint of at least one three dimensional object; and an image generator configured to generate a left and right eye image for display on the auto-stereoscopic display dependent on the surface viewable from the user viewpoint.

More simply put, for an effective 3D experience-much of which rests on the user's position relative to the screen-the device's camera can detect where the user's eye is and adjust the 3D effect accordingly.

Dubbed the "Nokia 3D Communicator," according to the site NokNokTV, which Nokia sponsors, " the device concept is also said to be nothing to ignore.

"It features a dual-display, with a 3D screen atop a 2D panel, and comes with advanced touches such as a shadow-casting effect from objects on the 3D screen down onto the 2D display, which adjusts as you move around the 3D image on screen with your finger," the site reports.

As for the tablet rumor, Tom's Guide points to a comment left by Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin on a mobile forum. According to Murtazin, Nokia's 2012-2013 strategy includes a few inexpensive, sub-100-euro phones, a midtier S60 5th edition phone, a mid- to high-end Symbian device, a few high-end Windows Phone 7 handsets and one Windows Phone 8 tablet, scheduled for 2012-but which Murtazin expects will be delayed until 2013.

Murtazin adds that Nokia's goals are to claim 21 percent of the worldwide smartphone market in 2011 and hold on to 27 percent of the whole phone market. Both, he says, are "too optimistic, I think."

According to Gartner, Nokia's handset market share in 2010 was 28.9 percent, down from 36.4 percent in 2009. Its declining sales-which were largely blamed on its alliance to the Symbian operating system-led new Nokia CEO Stephen Elop to announce in February that the company is shifting its primary focus to Microsoft's Windows Phone OS instead.

Comments Elop made recently on Finnish television show A-Plus have Murtazin's comments seeming not far off. (Nokia, emphasizing how seriously it takes the protection of its confidential information and intellectual property, has taken legal action against Murtazin in the past.) More than focusing on a single iPhone-killer, Elop said the company's strategy was to offer a broad portfolio of devices hitting every price point-more of an Android-battling scenario.

Elop also commented on Nokia's interest in producing a tablet, but suggested that such a device was still far off, with the Nokia team-as unlikely as it sounds-still discussing which of the Nokia-backed operating systems (Symbian, Microsoft or even MeeGo) to pair it with.

"There are now over 200 different tablets on the marketplace, and only one of them is doing really well. My challenge to the team is that I don't want to be the 201st tablet on the market that you can't tell from all of the others," Elop said on the program. "We are in a hurry, but it's a hurry to do the right thing."