Nokia CEO Stephen Elop says that the company could make tablets in future, but stopped short of confirming that the first of these will debut at the Mobile World Congress next month.
Speaking to the Australian Financial Review, Elop said that Nokia is still looking “very closely” at tablets and hinted that its future participation in the market could depend on the success of Microsoft’s Surface.
“We haven’t announced tablets at this point, but it is something we are clearly looking at very closely,” said Elop.
“We are studying very closely the market right now as Microsoft has introduced the Surface tablet, so we are trying to learn from that and understand what the right way to participate would be and at what point in time.”
Nokia’s decision to see how the Surface fares is not overly surprising given the partnership between the two companies and the widely-held view that Nokia has already developed a Windows RT tablet which bears some similarity to the Surface RT.
Indeed, sources say that Nokia’s model has a 10.1-inch screen, a kickstand and a cover, all of which makes it look “very similar to the Surface RT”.
The same sources told TabTimes that Nokia may have held back from launching the tablet because of reservations over the battery life (said to be under eight hours) and general concerns with Windows RT.
Other reports also seem to suggest that the tablet is waiting to be released. Citing supply chain makers, Digitimes reported in December that the tablet could have been launched in Q1 of 2012, only for the handset maker to back away from the project after Microsoft announced the first Surface.
It is now believed that Nokia will launch the tablet at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, something Nokia refused to confirm or deny in an email to TabTimes.
“We are matching the consumer response to the overall tablet market, including the first wave of Windows 8 products from Microsoft and others, to gauge how best to prioritize this opportunity”, said a spokesman.