As the world's largest handset maker, Nokia (NYSE:NOK) has experimented significantly in the bigger-than-a-cell-phone, smaller-than-a-laptop market. The company's Booklet netbook, and its N800/900 Internet Tablet and Communicator devices before that, reflect Nokia's solid cash position and willingness to innovate. Further, the company's new MeeGo platform, a combination of Nokia's Maemo and Intel's Moblin efforts, may well lend itself to tablets.
And of course, Nokia's suite of Ovi services could serve to add value to a tablet play.
Nokia was an "early believer in what were MIDs (mobile Internet devices), which are sort of migrating to tablets and larger form factors," noted Forrester analyst Charles Golvin. "They would seem to have at least the framework of a platform with which to attack this market."
That said, "if there's one place in which they're clearly underperforming it is in the high end of the market."
ABI's Jeff Orr went further: "I'm not convinced tablets are a natural extension of Nokia's business."
Orr said Nokia's solid position is largely due to its dominance of mid- and low-end phones in Europe and emerging markets, where tablets may not make the best play.
"Moving outside of handsets, it needs to make sense for their core markets," Orr said.