Finnish smartphone giant Nokia is reportedly looking at launching a tablet or phablet device as part of a hardware refresh, with the devices set to be unveiled in September, in a move that has concerned one former executive at the company.
Reuters reports sources within Nokia saying the company plans to unveil the new device in an event in New York during September.
A phablet is a smartphone over 5-inches in size, which is not quite as large as a full-sized 7-inch tablet.
Industry analyst and outspoken former Nokia executive Tomi Ahonen says that while a Nokia phablet could work, a full-sized tablet would be a disastrous proposition for the company.
“If it’s a phablet, a very-large screen but still marginally ‘pocketable’ touch-screen smartphone, that is okay. To race to the top on the screen size races, that’s okay. It could work if it’s pocket-sized.
“If it’s a proper tablet however, that is the second worst thing Nokia could do right now.
“Launching a new device type, into a new market where Nokia is not established (portable computers) where Nokia doesn’t have any retail and distribution presence – is very expensive for any global brand.
Ahonen points out the differences between a computer manufacturer making a tablet device, for instance, Apple, Sony or Samsung, in contrast to a pure-play mobile phone manufacturer.
“Samsung could succeed as could Apple with tablets, because both Samsung and Apple were PC makers and had the right distribution and sales channels to sell portable computers. Nokia has none of that.
“Look at Motorola, look at Blackberry (i.e. RIM). Both were pure handset makers who had no history in the computer market – and both failed disastrously in their tablet launches and both companies were fatally damaged in that attempt.”
Ahonen also urges Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop to abandon the use of Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform on its Lumia devices as part of a turnaround plan for the company’s smartphone division.
“The right thing for Nokia CEO to do, is to put all his resources into fixing the smartphone unit, which would start with announcing a new parallel smartphone OS platform, either MeeGo (or its derivative, Sailfish), Android or Firefox OS.
“He would not have to announce the end of Windows (that is inevitable) but just to announce a new OS for his smartphones, and he could escape the carrier and retail sales ‘boycott’ that Windows based smartphones have been under for two years now.”