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Nokia's 2520 could beat Microsoft at its own tablet game

In the 2520, Nokia has a really impressive Windows tablet on the market.

Microsoft doesn't own Nokia yet, so the two are still competitors for now, although they deny it. One thing you can't deny: on paper, the Nokia 2520 tablet is a seriously impressive piece of hardware.

Right now, there are two Windows RT vendors on the market: Microsoft and Nokia. HP and Dell aren't in the game, even with Business Insider claiming the two want to "hurt" Intel. After all, what better way to do it than to side with ARM-based tablets?

But for now, it's Microsoft vs. Nokia, and Nokia has some sweet hardware on its hands with the 2520. Don’t confuse this device with the recently announced 1520. That’s a 6-inch phablet designed to compete with the Galaxy Note line and other large phones.

The 2520 has a major cheerleader in Raj Talluri, senior vice president of product management for Qualcomm's application processors. It should come as no shock, then, that a Qualcomm chip is in the 2520. "The performance on [the 2520] is brilliant," he told CNET. "It's really at the next level. It's not even really a contest [compared to Surface 2] ... In every area, it's much bigger, faster, and lower power."

Qualcomm quickly clarified that he was talking about the processor, not the overall tablet. The 2520 uses a 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800, while the Surface 2 uses a 1.7GHz Tegra 4 from Nvidia. It sports a 10.1-inch display with 1920x1080 resolution. If the display is comparable to the Lumia 92x series, then it will be one gorgeous display.

Of course, the main problem is that it's still an RT machine, and RT has been a dismal failure. The Surface devices that are selling are the Pro line, with x86 processors. I've seen articles comparing it to the iPad, but the iPad has a lead in apps by, oh, just about one million. The Windows Store suffers from a dearth of apps, even with the momentum on the Windows Phone side, which is full of ARM-based apps.

The Windows Phone side, at least, is doing better with each quarter. Lumia phone sales hit a new high, with third quarter sales of 8.8 million units, a 19% increase over the previous quarter and a 40% jump compared to the same quarter one year ago.

Now, most of those sales are of the Lumia 520, the low-end phone sold in third-world countries. When it comes to the higher-end phones, the company still lags. It sold 1.4 million Lumia phones in the U.S. in the third quarter, a 367% increase compared to the 300,000 sold in the same quarter a year ago.

To date, Nokia has sold 36.1 million phones. Not bad, right? Well, Apple just reported it sold 33.8 million iPhones in the quarter and Samsung sold 88.4 million smartphones in the same time period.

So the path ahead is a long hard climb. The one plus? At least Nokia is climbing. It could be in BlackBerry's shoes.

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