Nokia's shift to Windows Phone from the Symbian OS has not been without its bumps, but the company is making gains, becoming the No. 3 smartphone maker, as BlackBerry fades away. But Nokia's rumored next step looks to be foolish at best.
The Verge has scored an exclusive look at a 10.1-inch tablet from Nokia that basically looks like a giant Lumia, codename "Sirius." The specs seem good; the 10.1-inch display will run at 1920 x 1080 resolution and has been improved for outdoor readability via "a high amount of bright output." It comes with a 6-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel user-facing camera.
The tablet will feature Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, along with a microSD port, a Micro HDMI connector, and a Micro USB port. Nokia is aiming for 10 hours of solid battery life with LTE connectivity.
So what's wrong with it? The answer is above. Since it uses the Snapdragon ARM-based processor, it will run Windows RT.
Earth to Steven Elop: no one wants Windows RT. The most recent figures from IDC report 1.8 million Windows 8 tablets were sold in the second quarter of 2013, while only 200,000 Windows RT units shipped in the same period. Asus and HTC have both cancelled plans to make Windows RT tablets due to the poor sales, and Acer has said that it’s unsure if it will ever release another Windows RT tablet again. Microsoft recently had to write off $900 million because of unsold Surface RT inventory and cut prices on RT tablets by $150.
So why is Nokia moving on this apparent fool's errand? Apparently it thinks it can make the failed platform a success. For starters, the demo unit shown on The Verge was a 4G-enabled device with the LTE and Verizon Wireless logos.
This is a big change because Windows RT tablets have, up to now, been Wi-Fi only. That might help, but RT has another problem in that developers have pretty much shunned RT and focused on Windows 8-based platforms.
Nokia is pretty much all Microsoft has left for Windows Phone support, and it's doing better with each quarter. It really can't afford and should not throw money down the Windows RT rathole. Even if Microsoft made a financial commitment to Nokia, it should also remember that Microsoft's top deal maker is on the way out.
Nokia is rumored to introduce the Sirius, as well as a new Lumia smartphone with a giant 6-inch display, in late September.