Nokia may be launching a Windows on ARM tablet when the OS launches later this year.
Those notorious unnamed upstream component suppliers who like to dish out rumor after rumor now claim that Nokia will introduce a Windows 8 tablet in 4Q12. The tablet will reportedly feature a 10-inch screen and a dual-core Qualcomm SoC. Naturally that means the gadget will sport Windows on ARM, the non-x86/64 version of Windows 8 that Microsoft insists will go retail along with the x86/64 version this fall.
According to the sources, Nokia is expected to outsource production of the 10-inch tablet to Compal Electronics. The first batch of shipments should top around 200,000 units, yet Nokia may find itself needing more given the pre-Holiday Season timeframe. Will Windows 8 products be a hot commodity for holiday shoppers? It's a possibility if the OS itself doesn't see a delay.
By the third quarter of 2012, if rumors at true, Google's 7-inch Nexus tablet should already be on the market, gearing up for additional sales thanks to high demand and possible pre-holiday app/music/book/movie discounts. Amazon will likely be in the same boat, duking it out with Google in the $199 arena using its 2nd-generation Kindle Fire. Apple might even have a smaller, more affordable iPad in that same timeframe. On top of all of that, Windows 8-based tablets are slated to arrive in both x86/64 and ARM-based form factors.
That said, Nokia's presence in the Windows on ARM assault will reportedly give Microsoft an additional dose of strength against Google, Amazon and Apple in the 2012 tablet arena. Yet Nokia's presence is also expected to further intensify competition among non-Apple tablet vendors including Asus, Acer, Motorola and more. As with the Android market where vendors are trying to become the One True iPad Rival, the same will hold true in the Windows 8 tablet market, now spiced up even more with Nokia's presence.
This isn't the first time we've heard about a Nokia tablet. The company first talked about the form factor back in 2010, saying it would sport Microsoft's Windows 7 OS. Then in 2011 the company said the tablet would use MeeGo instead. But now that Nokia and Microsoft are the best of buddies on the smartphone front, it makes sense that Nokia would switch over to the extremely touchy Windows on ARM platform and try to serve as Microsoft's champion.
Other manufacturers lined up to offer Windows 8 tablets include Dell which plans to offer a business-based version at launch. HP is reportedly working on both Intel-based and AMD-based versions. Whether any of these Windows 8 tablet solutions will fully rival Apple's iPad tablet line remains to be seen.