Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop has given the clearest indication yet that the Finnish mobile phone stalwart will soon make its assault on the booming tablet computer market, with a windows-based device the most likely starting point.
Speaking to reporters in Sydney, Mr Elop said the company was not yet announcing anything, and had not yet made any formal decisions, but his comments suggested the company will look to add to its Lumia smartphone line with a tablet device.
“It is the case that in the months and years ahead, you will see us broaden out the portfolio, which means pushing to lower and lower price points, in some cases smaller form factors and so forth,” Mr Elop said.
“We haven’t announced tablets at this point, but it is something we are clearly looking at very closely. 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.”
Mr Elop said there were merits in both the smaller 7-inch form factor, popularised by Android devices and recently followed by Apple’s iPad Mini, and the larger screens initially popularised by the iPad.
Nokia made waves two years ago when it made the decision to ditch its own Symbian operating system in favour of developing its high end devices on Microsoft’s Windows platform. Mr Elop said the reasons behind that would also be relevant to deciding the platform that would run on any future tablet device.
Pressed about whether Nokia would opt to go with Windows or Android, he appeared to side with Windows before an attending public relations executive reminded him to add that no decisions had yet been made.
“We would consider any option [Android or Windows] … It is important to note that the opportunity for companionship is something that any user is looking for. So, when you think about the Lumia 920, running on Windows phone, having a Windows tablet or PC or Xbox is something that will give us the opportunity to have a pretty integrated experience. Our first focus on what we look at is clearly in the Microsoft side,” Mr Elop said
“But we have made no decision or announced nothing.”
Mr Elop announced that the relatively lower priced Lumia 620 smartphones would be released in Australia in Mid-February, with a recommended retail price of $329.
He said, with its higher end Lumia devices, Nokia was making a strong play for the business user market. Australian sales staff were having success in convincing corporate customers that the compatability with Microsoft Office products, was worth investing in.
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