Nokia to Take on Microsoft Surface with Windows RT Tablet
Nokia (NYSE: NOK) is expected to resume development of its unconfirmed Windows RT tablet.
The device, which is thought to contain a 10-inch display, would be the next major device to use the Windows RT platform after Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) own tablet, Surface. HTC was expected to enter the fray as well, but those plans did not come to fruition.
According to DigiTimes, Nokia will produce the tablet with the help of Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) and Compal Electronics. (Qualcomm provides chips to most smartphone and tablet manufacturers.) Taiwan-based supply chain makers believe that Nokia will unveil the tablet at the 2013 Mobile World Congress, which is scheduled to take place in late February in Barcelona, Spain.
"Nokia originally planned to develop a 10-inch Windows RT tablet equipped with Qualcomm's S4 processor in first-quarter 2012, with Compal to undertake ODM production and initial shipments of 200,000 units to test the market, the sources indicated," DigiTimes wrote in its report. "But because Microsoft later announced Surface, and the market for Windows 8/RT tablets needed to be proven, Nokia internally focused on smartphones, and delayed the development of the 10-inch Windows RT tablet."
Nokia is currently evaluating how many units it should prepare to ship at launch. The Espoo, Finland-based smartphone maker is also exploring its marketing approach. Nokia wants to ensure that its product stands apart from the Windows RT version of Surface, which retails for a starting price of $499 and is compatible with two different keyboard covers.
The company must also deal with the challenge of explaining how Windows RT differs from Windows 8. Neil Hand, the VP of Dell's (NASDAQ: DELL) tablet business, recently told the Australian Financial Review about the importance of differentiating between the two operating systems.
"Making sure we educate the market place on the differences was going to be a necessary action no matter what," Hand told the publication. "Just calling it something different is not going to solve the problem."
Thus far, Microsoft has sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses. The company has not announced how many Windows RT tablets have been sold.
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