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Nokia readying Win8 tablet for 2012 release?

Finnish phone folks to dip tiny toe in tablet market

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The long-rumored Nokia Windows 8 tablet is set to debut in the fourth quarter of this year, according to the Taiwanese market-watchers at DigiTimes.

Citing "sources at upstream component suppliers," DigiTimes reported on Monday that Nokia's ARM-based Windows 8 tablet would be based on a dual-core Qualcomm platform, have a 10-inch display, and would come to market in the fourth quarter of 2012 "at the earliest."

When the Windows on ARM port was announced by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at CES 2011, Qualcomm was one of the three chipmakers mentioned as partners, along with Nvidia and Texas Instruments.

The first production run of the new tablet, to be manufactured by Taipei's Compal, would be of 200,000 units, DigiTimes's sources said. Compal has manufacturing plants in mainland China, Vietnam, and Brazil, but the sources didn't say where the Nokia tablet would be assembled.

That production run is, of course, small potatoes when compared to the sales stats of Apple's iPad. According to Apple's most recent SEC filing, nearly 15.4 million Cupertinian fondleslabs were sold in the fourth quarter of 2011 alone.

Last November, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop – presumably speaking of Windows 8 – said that "There's a new tablet opportunity coming. We see the opportunity. Unquestionably, that will change the dynamics" of the tablet market.

A few days after that statement, French Nokia exec Paul Amsellem was more specific. "In June 2012," he said, "we will have a tablet that runs on Windows 8."

Although the June date was premature, Nokia now appears to be readying a late-2012 entry into the tablet market with a device that will go head-to-head with Apple's iOS and Google's Android – although that latter OS has yet to make significant inroads into the iPad's tablet dominance.

That is, of course, if DigiTimes's "sources at upstream component suppliers" are correct. ®

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