Is Nokia Building a Better iPad?
First a camera phone, now an iPad-killer? The dying tech giant might finally make a comeback.
It seems like only yesterday I was mocking Nokia (NYSE: NOK) and making fun of the company's Windows Phone 7 handsets. But after the 808 PureView – AKA Nokia's first iPhone-killer – made its public debut, it was hard to criticize the cellular device manufacturer. Nokia had executed the ultimate turnaround (from the perspective of exciting product debuts, at lest). That turnaround could not be ignored.
While it hasn't even been a month since the 808 PureView was unveiled, Nokia is already said to be preparing its next major debut: a Windows 8 tablet. That's according to DigiTimes (via Forbes), which reports that the company will launch its first iPad competitor in the fourth quarter. DigiTimes' sources believe that the tablet will be a 10-inch Windows 8-based tablet PC that's set on Qualcomm's (NASDAQ: QCOM) dual-core platform. Personally, I think the specs will be a little more impressive than that given Nokia's recent announcements.
But how far will the company go in trying to one-up the iPad?
Nokia spent five years working on the ultra-powerful 41MP camera for the 808 PureView. Only now, after investing 60 months in the project is the company able to reap any of the benefits. Now I'm not saying that Nokia has spent the last five years working on a spectacular tablet. But if the company has been trying to build a great device since the day the first iPad debuted, Nokia should have a solid buildup of R&D experiments. Hopefully one of those experiments can be transformed into an actual product.
While it is conceivable that Nokia could ship a new tablet with the aforementioned camera technology baked right into the device, that wouldn't be enough to give it an edge over the iPad. For most consumers, the iPad isn't about the camera. Tablets are just too big for that.
But if a superior camera can't carry the tablet to victory, what is it that Nokia needs to build?
Sir Jonathan Ive, Apple's Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, told the Evening Standard (via Huffington Post) that he feels that most of the iPad competitors are interested doing something different or simply wish to appear that they are creating something new. “I think those are completely the wrong goals,” said Ive. “A product has to be genuinely better. This requires real discipline, and that's what drives us – a sincere, genuine appetite to do something that is better. Committees just don't work, and it's not about price, schedule or a bizarre marketing goal to appear different - they are corporate goals with scant regard for people who use the product.”
Ive has a point. In order for any of the iPad competitors to succeed, they need to build a better product.
So what's it going to be, Nokia? Will you blow our minds once more this year?
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