Fresh off of revealing its first Windows Phone 7 handsets at Nokia World, technology pundits are already beginning to ask whether Nokia will also jump into the tablet computing fray. Speaking to the Financial Times, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop demurred about any specific tablet plans, but had this to say:
“We are not commenting on specific plans for tablets. But I will point out that one of the things that we are excited about in terms of support for the Windows Phone are the announcements made around Windows 8 for tablets and personal computers. When you see the user experience from the Nokia Lumia environment appearing on hundreds of millions of tablets and PCs in the future, you can see that there is a clear synergy between all those environments. So that presents an interesting opportunity for Nokia.”
Microsoft has ruled out tablets based on Windows Phone 7, so a potential Nokia tablet would presumably run on the upcoming Windows 8 platform, which has a tablet-friendly touch interface that borrows heavily from the Windows Phone 7 Metro UI. That means any plans would have to wait until Microsoft is ready to ship Windows 8.
A Nokia branded slate would appeal to followers of the Finnish handset manufacturer, but the company may choose to proceed with caution. Developing for the full version of Windows may present different challenges then creating handsets for Microsoft’s mobile OS. Mary McDowell, the executive vice president in charge of mobile phones at Nokia, pointed out that the tablet market is very competitive, with Apple’s iPad product line dominating the competition. McDowell said that any effort by Nokia in the tablet market would need to build off of future success in the smartphone market.