Nokia: fingers crossed we'll win with tablets, hybrids

Nokia is planning to unveil a host of tablets and "hybrid" smart mobile devices in an attempt to revive its sluggish mobile business.

(Credit: Nicole Lee/CNET)

In an interview, published today by the Financial Times (registration required), exiting chairman Jorma Ollila tried to excite consumers and investors with promises of new "form factors" for mobile devices and exclusive new services. Such new devices were touted by Ollila as a way to help the company recover from its weakening financial situation.

Nokia recently reported an operating loss of US$1.76 billion and a huge drop in sales for its first quarter. The company has already been hedging its bets on a string of new devices, namely the Windows Phone-based Lumia line-up. The handsets have, so far, delivered mixed results around the world, with demand high in the US, but still weak in certain markets such as the UK.

Nokia has traditionally dominated the worldwide mobile phone market. But the company has seen its lead slip away as more consumers have gravitated toward smartphones and away from feature phones. Nokia's share of the smartphone market dropped to 8.2 per cent from 23.8 per cent in the first quarter, according to International Data Corporation (IDC), putting it in third place, far behind Samsung and Apple.

The Finnish phone maker has even lost its crown in the mobile phone arena, with Samsung now on top in the latest quarter, according to International Handling Services (IHS) iSuppli.

But the new products and services being eyed by Nokia would "make a difference", Ollila told the Financial Times. "Tablets are an important one, so that is being looked into, and there will be different hybrids, different form factors [handset designs] in the future."

No details were revealed as to what would distinguish the new devices from Nokia's current crop of products.

The company is striving to shake up the smartphone landscape with the new Lumia phones as sales continue to slip for its Symbian handsets. But, aside from a couple of mobile internet devices, Nokia has yet to introduce a true tablet into the market.

The company has already confirmed that it's working on a tablet, but has been mum about a potential launch date or operating system. Reports have suggested that the tablet would run Windows 8; a logical assumption, given Nokia's partnership with Microsoft. As such, the tablet could debut before the end of the year.

But as Nokia struggles to regain its foothold in the mobile market, it will be up to another chairman to oversee the company's future. Ollila is handing over the reins to incoming chairman, Risto Siilasmaa, today.


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