|Credit for image goes to Jonas Daehnert|
The original article grew to near mammoth proportions in length in terms of usual Internet standards. Here's my revamped take on the subject, but the original blog post can be read beneath this one for those interested in the details behind my ideas.
Nokia faces notable challenges in introducing a tablet of its own. One of these challenges is Samsung's and Apple's dominance in the tablet market. In this relatively flooded market of tablets, Nokia has to design a tablet that stands out in form factor and design, hardware and software, but also in use purpose as well, I argue. Nokia has to innovate and bring a new spin to how we use tablets.
The operating system
Nokia's only real option is Windows RT. As much as I'd like to fantasize about a MeeGo powered tablet, if Nokia wouldn't perfect their awesome MeeGo-Harmattan platform for their iconic N9, they haven't perfected it for tablet use either. Full Windows 8 poses technical problems that could resemble the disaster Nokia had with the Booklet 3G. To cut the Booklet 3G story short, let's just say that at the end of the day, Nokia has only shown leadership and expertise in designing, manufacturing and selling mobile devices, not computers.
Windows RT also faces its own problems, that Microsoft hasn't been able to fix, barely even address. People don't really know what WindowsRT is for, and so people haven't but a choice to think its full Windows on a tablet. This couldn't be farther from the truth. It's a completely new tablet platform that only borrows branding and design elements from its half-sister Windows 8. The misconception around what WinRT is has spawned some gloomy scenarios for the platform at the fingers of bloggers, but the truth remains that nobody is quite sure what to think about WinRT tablets.
Tapping into Nokia’s strengths
Nokia's strengths at the moment lie in design, quality hardware and innovative technologies and premium exclusive software on their Lumia phones. In addition to this Nokia tends to bring unsurpassed price to quality ratio to their devices.
In practice this means state of the art imaging technology, world class location services and a huge variety of apps wrapped in gorgeous but affordable packages. These are all strengths that must make it onto Nokia's tablet. This isn't enough, though if you ask me. Following the mentioned recipe in a tablet will only result in a Lumia-looking tablet. For the user it feels like a huge Lumia phone, just possibly without telephony functions.
I'm certain Nokia has had some elaborate plans for the form factor, such as wrap-cover keyboards etc., but with the launch of Surface I think a slew of those ideas might've gone to the bin. This is the most fuzzy part of the Nokia tablet for me though I must admit, as for the life of me I can't imagine what Nokia will come up with on this front. I bet a lot of people over at Nokia sighed a "geez thanks" at the Surface launch event!
The answer lies in... specialization!
So here's my horse I'm going to be betting on: an array of tablets designed at doing only a few things (not everything), but doing them well.
One example of this might be a music centric tablet, that has great built-in speakers and connectivity to media devices you might already have in your house. It would have a premium and a little-sister version with a more compact form factor and cheaper price.
The second type of tablet could be one aimed at business use. It would come with an accessory of an attachable keyboard and perhaps a wireless option too. It would have a high-quality webcam for conference Skype calls in mind, and probably a kick-stand type solution to help positioning for its use case scenario.
All tablets would naturally benefit from Nokia's deep and wide ecosystem of accessories.
These two examples aren't imperatives to Nokia or ready product concepts, but I hope they present the core of my idea. Having the tablets concentrate on a clear function will make it easier to market, and will make it harder to get misconceptions about. Marketing can concentrate on touting what the device does well, instead of thinking of a way to talk about what it can't do. Specialisation is an idea that hasn't been ventured into yet, at least not fully so this could be a way to enter the market with something fresh.