Rumors of Nokia(s nok) entering the Windows RT(s msft) 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.
If 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……