Nokia (NYSE:NOK) CEO Stephen Elop said the company is not going to rush a tablet to market just to join in the device cavalcade, and will instead focus on ensuring that the device has a "uniquely Nokia perspective."
Nokia has been relatively mum on in its tablet plans following its announcement in February of a partnership with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) to use Windows Phone 7 as Nokia's primary smartphone platform. Elop's comments, which he made during an interview with Finnish TV station YLE, did not give much clarity to Nokia's thinking, but represent the most in-depth comments Nokia has made to date on its tablet philosophy.
"We could take advantage of Microsoft technology and software, and build a Windows-oriented tablet, or we could do things with some of the other software assets that we have," Elop said. "Our team right now is assessing what's the right tablet strategy for Nokia." Microsoft has not indicated that it intends to make Windows Phone 7 work on tablets; Nokia still has access to MeeGo software and intends to release one MeeGo device this year.
The tablet market will surge ahead in the next few years, growing to a $49 billion market by 2015, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. The firm said in a new report it expects vendors to ship 149 million tablets in 2015, an eightfold increase from 2010. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is expected to dominate the market, Strategy Analytics said, though a range of other players will work to cash in on the opportunity. Elop seemed to acknowledge this in his comments.
"There are now over 200 different tablets on the marketplace, only one of them is doing really well," Elop said. "And, my challenge to the team is, I don't want to be the 201st tablet on the market that you can't tell from all of the others. We have to take a uniquely Nokia prospective."
When asked if that meant that Nokia was not in a hurry to release a tablet, Elop replied, somewhat cryptically: "We're always in a hurry to do the right things, but we're mostly in a hurry to do the right thing."
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