Is Nokia working on Booklet Touch – Windows 7 based tablet?

Well, here we go again. Another round of new Nokia device and even form factor rumors.

This time it comes from Ashok Kumar, analyst at Rodman Renshaw, via TheStreet.com.

According to their sources, Nokia is working with suppliers and design manufacturers on a touchscreen tablet, to have it available as early as this fall.

So how much truth is there in this rumor?

Well, while while The Street’s Scott  Moritz/Ashok Kumar does not have a perfect record, and can be completely wrong in some details, they’ve made quite a few good calls over the last year I’ve been watching them. These include  things like Nokia N900 last April, Google’s Nexus One last October, or Verizon’s cooling towards Palm Pre last September.

So yep, I believe that there is a solid amount of truth in the latest rumor about the upcoming Nokia tablet. The question is, what kind of device are we talking about, that can be ready for release this fall?

This can be Nokia N900 successor, running Maemo/MeeGo OS. But I do not believe it. From all the things we hear about it, the N900 successor is nowhere near a tablet form factor. Most likely, it’s a significantly thinner, better designed version of N900, something pretty close to project Nautilus we talked about a year ago. To call it a tablet would be a big stretch. And, I believe, we would have heard something already by now, if Nokia was working on another, bigger Maemo/MeeGo device for this fall.

So, while I think that there’s a very good chance that we will get Meego tablet device from Nokia in late 2011/2012, as the merged OS matures, I also think that there is no chance that we’ll see a tablet from Nokia, running Maemo/MeeGo OS this year.

But Windows 7 based tablet from Nokia, is a much more likely product to happen this year, and I think this is the device TheStreet.com is talking about.

There’s another clue in Kumar’s comments, that points towards Windows 7 based tablet from Nokia. He says that Nokia is working with design manufacturers on a touch-screen tablet.

As far as I know, Nokia designs and manufactures most of it’s devices itself. Outsourcing only production of cheaper, less impoirtant models to OEMs. Nokia has used the design manufacturers for only one of it’s major products in the recent past. That was the first  Nokia netbook – Booklet 3G.

And while Booklet 3G wasn’t a roaring success, it wasn’t a failure for Nokia either. It was a cheap experiment on what Nokia’s brand name and carrier relations can do in a new market of ultra portable, 3G connected personal computers. I’ve written in depth about Nokia Netbook strategy here.

This is a logical extension of that strategy. The hardware got better in a year, Windows 7 have been tweaked and adapted to tablet use, and Nokia already has a team that did a pretty good job designing and launching a Windows based ultra portable, 3G connected device. Put that team on a new Windows 7 tablet, and you can a have a new, pretty interesting product ready to ship in a few months.

And I think Nokia Booklet Touch, a new Windows 7 based tablet device is exactly what we are going to see this fall.

Also, since this a completely new device category, with usage models that are significantly different from traditional laptop, even Windows based Nokia tablet has a pretty good chance of succeeding against the traditional PC rivals.

Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

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  • carnival

    MeeGo 1'0 will be released in May and MeeGo 1.1 in the Fall so in all honesty if this device rumour is true it will 100% run MeeGo

  • someone unimportant

    Yay for a nokPad, but sporting Win 7 when their tablet OS is upcoming? Hardly. Either it won't be out this year for real, or it will be a waypoint device as the N900 was, collecting new enthusiast to power up their own App arsenal until 2011/2012 and the real flagship devices. This wouldn't for sure be the first time they ship out a device with an unpolished Operating System – and mainly as a hardware company, it wouldn't be odd either..

  • http://www.staska.net Staska

    Nokia themselves are not yet sure (at least publicly), whether N900
    successor, coming out this fall will run MeeGo or Maemo 6.

    And new devices, especially new form factor devices, do not happen in a few
    months. They take at least 6, more likely 12-18 months to develop from
    scratch.

    To be ready for the release this fall, Nokia should have started to work on
    MeeGo tablet in the middle of 2009, and it should now be in advanced
    prototype stage.

    Well, I do not deny that it is possible Nokia had some group working in
    total secret for the last 9 months, without any hints to the outside that
    tablet device is in the works. But, given Nokia's track record of keeping
    product plans confidential, that will be the first for them.

    So for me, it seems much more likely that the tablet we are talking about
    will run on Windows 7.

  • carnival

    maemo6/harmattan as been rebranded MeeGo and there will be a device running it before fall
    its already been said that there will be real Meego devices towards end of 2010 so seeing tablets and phones running MeeGo is almost a certainty

  • http://www.staska.net Staska

    Well, for 2011/12 Nokia actually has two tablet OSes upcoming – Meego and
    Symbian^4 and higher.

    The problem is that – it's for next year, and tablets are happening now. So
    it's either Windows 7 or no tablet for Nokia this year.

    Before Nokia launched Booklet 3G, everyone thought inconceivable for Nokia
    to use Windows in their products either. But it happened.

    Also, tablets, for now, are completely new and untested category. One, at
    which Nokia already failed once.

    So getting Nokia's Booklet team make Windows tablet on the cheap, might be a
    good way to test waters again. They can always swap the OS later, if tablet
    reality catches up to the current hype.

  • http://www.staska.net Staska

    Agreed on the Meego/Maemo 6 rebranding. Missed that one somehow.

    And sure, there will be Meego devices by the end of this year. Nokia N900
    successor (RX-99/N9?) and LG GW990 come to mind. But they are not tablets.

    And my argument regarding Windows 7 Nokia tablet for this year still
    stands.

    Btw, Reuters just published an article quoting Ashok Kumar, the same analyst
    that started this rumor, that Nokia tablet he's talking about will most
    likely use Microsoft Windows software: http://link.reuters.com/cyk66j