Nokia to Release Windows 8 Tablet in 2012?

On the heels of the Lumia 800 and 710, Finnish outfit Nokia could unveil a Windows 8 tablet by June 2012, according to Nokia France head Paul Amsellem.

“(Lumia 800) is just the equivalent of the BMW 5 Series. We will soon have a full range with a Series 7 and Series 3,” said Amsellem to French newspaper LesEchos.

However, Nokia said Amsellem jumped the gun.

“We haven’t announced any plans anywhere in the world at this point regarding a potential tablet strategy,” said a Nokia spokesperson to BGR. “However, the Nokia Lumia 800 represents the ‘flagship’ of our current portfolio – and we haven’t revealed what else may be in store in the future for the Lumia portfolio.”

From the Microsoft side, CEO Steve Ballmer said introducing Windows 8 to tablets, which itself does not have an official release date, is the next logical progression for the software giant.

“We’ve got broad initiatives, driving Windows down to the phone with Windows 8,” said Ballmer in a recent annual shareholder meeting, according to Business Insider. “We are in an era in which the range of smart devices is continuing to expand. That is a fantastic thing for Microsoft.”

While cautious, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop admitted the link between Microsoft’s next-generation mobile operating system and the future wave of tablet computing.

"When you see the user experience from the Nokia Lumia environment appearing on hundreds of millions of tablets and PCs in the future, you can see that there is a clear synergy between all those environments," said Elop in an interview with the Financial Times. "So that presents an interesting opportunity for Nokia."

Some market analysts have seen the wisdom in Elop’s words.

“Such a move would make some sense. Android and iOS span phones and tablets, but Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system doesn't. Ignoring the tablet market would shut Nokia out of a major growth industry, though, and Microsoft is the obvious partner--even if it means Nokia must wrestle with the complexities of having two major operating systems,” said CNet's Stephen Shankland.

From the user side, hungry consumers seem to also warm to the idea of a Windows 8-based Nokia tablet.

“Finally a tablet besides the endless Android clones that I might actually be interested in,” said one excited Engadget poster. “I love my iPad 2 but Nokia’s industrial design is pretty on par with Apple and Windows 8 looks sweet.”

Currently, Apple dominates the tablet market. According to a study released last week by research firm Strategy Analytics, Apple's tablet strong-armed 66.6 percent of the tablet market on the strength of 11 million iPad sales. Android-based tablets shipped 4.5 million, setting 26.9 percent of the space.

Between the two, iOS and Android captured 93.5 percent of the tablet market during the third quarter.