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Summary:

More details surfaced on Nokia’s potential Windows RT tablet and they line up with my earlier thoughts on how Microsoft can save the product: a much faster processor, better screen and improved hardware. Can that support iPad-like pricing?

Nokia tablet Verizon

Rumors of Nokia entering the Windows RT market are appearing more likely now that The Verge has learned additional details of the potential device. Called the Sirius, Nokia’s tablet will offer much improved hardware just as Microsoft is maturing the operating system with a new version. Windows 8.1 arrives on October 17 and it’s likely that the Nokia Sirius could be a flagship product for Windows RT.

Sources tell The Verge that Sirius will have a 10.1-inch screen but with 1920 x 1080 resolution; a nice upgrade from today’s 1366 x 768 Windows RT products. Additionally, the tablet will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip and 2 GB of memory, which would provide a much-needed speed boost to the currently available Windows RT tablets. A microSD card slot, micro HDMI port and full-sized USB port, plus optional LTE integration are also part of the tablet.

Surface RT with Touch CoverIf true, that sounds like a potentially winning combo to me. Earlier this month, I discussed how Microsoft could turn a new Surface RT into a winner and noted a better screen and the Snapdragon 800 would definitely help. But I worry about the pricing: With some key apps still missing on the Windows RT platform, it’s difficult to charge iPad-like prices for Windows RT. Yet, that’s exactly what The Verge suggests: Nokia’s Sirius will be priced like Apple’s iPad.

It comes down to value in my opinion. The improvements in Windows 8.1 that I’ve seen will help. So too would much-improved, well-built hardware from Nokia. And if any of Microsoft’s hardware partners can create a winning Windows RT combination, my money is on Nokia.

The interesting side-story here is that Nokia seems to be gathering momentum first with Windows Phone and now, potentially, with Windows RT, just as Microsoft’s CEO is planning to retire. A deeper Microsoft partnership with Nokia could bring a new CEO back to the company in Stephen Elop, while also getting a hardware company or division that has more expertise in building phones and tablets. Hmm……

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  1. Nicholas Paredes Monday, August 26, 2013

    As a mobile experience manager working on apps for creatives as well as e-commerce, I am always looking at new devices. Frankly, I found the interactions of the UI confusing. It is difficult to avoid discussing the versioning of Windows for tablets and how apps are designed and deployed.

    Just for comparison, Wacom recently announced a drawing tablet with either Android or Windows functionality as options. It is called the Companion. I expect to get one, and frankly cannot imagine why I would want a Windows Tablet adjacent to my Mac. As Ke drink mentioned this morning, we don’t use Office because we want to. It is a business decision.

    Microsoft has to begin providing some reasons for such desire, and it is in app functionality. It is hard to believe that Paper was originally not ended for Windows. It is even more difficult to believe that Mixrosoft can’t finance apps given how they burn cash.

  2. Hello, Sirius, I hope you like sitting on store shelves. I hate to break it to you, but no one really likes you. Sure, you are colorful, whimsical, and look like fun, but the sad truth is, you just don’t have the apps that people want. Even worse, you are overpriced! I hate that you really don’t have a chance to be sold into a happy home, I would blame your parents. It’s all their fault!

  3. I’m sure the name will change, a certainly satellite radio company won’t be thrilled. That said the specs look promising but why not a win8 tablet vs an rt?

    1. Agree on the name change. As far as Win8 vs Win 8 RT, Nokia has experience with ARM chips that RT users; not with x86. And Microsoft has plenty of hardware partners on that side anyway. It’s in RT where partners are bailing.

      1. Why are they bailing?

        Why did Microsoft create two completely incompatible mobile OSes? How much is Nokia being paid to become the RT guinea pig? Somewhere in the range of the $800M that Microsoft lost performing Nokia’s current role perhaps.

        So many questions!

        1. That said, I believe that Nokia needs end to end solutions including a tablet…

  4. I would not under-estimate Nokia they seem to take what others could not do anything and come out with something great – with WP7/WP8 HTC and Samsung did not give the rightful focus because of their Android commitment, that is the reason early WPs were Android ports unoptimized for the OS. Nokia came and made hardware ground-up for WP and able to get good traction (miles to go). I would expect the same for RT – if there is one company that would make good on RT, it is Nokia. They can actually make these tablets a seamless companion to Lumias. There is potential here.

  5. It will sell if they push the benefits of RT rather then the stupid dancing keyboard adverts that MS ran.

    What to push on?

    Start with different login accounts for each member of the family and the privacy that gives.

  6. With Intel’s Bay Trail also launching around the same time as Windows 8.1, isn’t RT still pointless? Bay Trail tablets will have better performance and battery life than these Snapdragon 800-based tablets, and they can still run legacy stuff. So, what is the selling point for RT? Is the selling point that you can’t run any legacy stuff? “It does less” is just not a feature that resonates with people.

    Even if you can live entirely in the Metro environment (despite the lack of compelling apps), and you have absolutely no need for any legacy hardware/software of any kind, doesn’t, I still don’t think it makes sense to go with RT because of the comparatively sluggish performance, which will still be present even in the next generation of devices.

    1. I would disagree RT is a sluggish OS by itself, there is a learning curve and version 1.0 are not refined. Of course Microsoft choosing Tegra 3 did not help which at that time is a generation old. That is what is encouraging about Nokia – they are coming out with top of the line or close to, spec wise.

    2. “…they can still run legacy stuff”

      Except you forgot to answer the million dollar question – do legacy apps benefit from a touch UI, and if so, do they run well on slate hardware?

      I can run Cool Edit Pro on the Surface PRO, but handicapped audio drivers prohibit me from recording internet streams, for example. Similarly, while I can open and edit Excel spreadsheets, it’s impossible to use a touch UI to resize cells using a finger to swipe on the display – I need precision cursor control thu a trackball/mouse. Yeah, I can run Civilization V on the Surface PRO too, except I cannot rename any of my cities because the onscreen keyboard doesn’t work with full-screen programs – I need to have the hardware keyboard attached.

      I’m amazed that all the tech “experts” dissing RT in favor of x86 compatibility fail to highlight this.

  7. The “Sirius” needs a pen.

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