In these times when every other handset and PC manufacturer are bringing out their very own tablets, it’s a wonder why Nokia has not made one until now. Even smaller players have had some success (like Archos) in this market, so why not Nokia?
Unfortunately, that did not pan out well for the Finnish company — mainly because the unit costs an arm and a leg back then. It didn’t even arrive in the Philippines.
With that in mind, let me share my thoughts on why Nokia has not joined the tablet wars and isn’t doing one any time soon.
- A Nokia Tablet is a distraction. Nokia is very busy fending off a lot of competitors in the handset market. There’s Apple and their dominance with the iPhone line-up; then there’s Samsung that’s kicking everyone’s ass in the Android smartphone arena, followed by HTC which, by the way, has surpassed Nokia in market cap early this year. Nokia’s just too busy protecting its turf that entering the tablet market will just be a distraction.
- Nokia didn’t have a solid Tablet OS of its own. If Nokia wants to be serious in the tablet market, they would need to invest heavily on a tablet OS the same way they banked on their own Symbian OS. Okay, there was a glimmer of hope with Maemo and Meego but it was still half-baked back then. With Meego being placed in the back-burner, it looks like there’s no opportunity left for a Meego tablet from Nokia.
- Change in leadership. A change in leadership usually means a change in direction and priorities. When Stephen Elop sat as CEO of Nokia in September 2010, the strategy changed and Microsoft entered the scene afterwards. Nokia eventually partnered with Microsoft to produce Nokia Windows Phone 7 handsets. It is most likely that if and when Nokia builds its own tablet, it will run on Windows 8.
- Nokia cannot afford another failure. Making a tablet in this very competitive, iPad-dominated market is a huge risk. A number of big-pocketed manufacturers have tried and failed — the HP TouchPad, the BlackBerry Playbook, the HTC Flyer, and probably many more to come.
The second obvious question — is Nokia ever gonna make a tablet? My answer is more likely yes than no. And it will likely be a Nokia Windows 8 tablet but that’s way far off the calendar (late 2012, perhaps? Assuming Elop is still the CEO by then.). Second most likely candidate would be Tizen. Since Nokia supported Meego, might as well throw the same support to Tizen. Nokia might feel uncomfortable though since Samsung and Intel are leading that pack (like a scorned ex-lover).
Too many players, too little time and resources for Nokia so they’re playing whatever cards they have left in their hands.
We’ll never know really. Maybe Microsoft will buy Nokia before the year ends.