Nokia is rolling out its first-ever tablet next week. The company generated plenty of buzz when it announced the Lumia 2520 in late October at Nokia World in Abu Dhabi. Now, the Finnish mobile device maker will see how the market responds.
The Windows tablet has a 10.1-inch HD screen. The device combines both 4G LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity, a 6.7-megapixel camera, and for the first time ever on a tablet, Zeiss optics. The Lumia 2520 runs on Windows RT 8.1 and features several color options. The tablet promises up to an 80 percent charge in one hour.
Software-wise, the Lumia 2520 comes installed with the "Dragons Adventure" interactive game, developed in partnership with DreamWorks Animation. Other exclusive software includes the Nokia Storyteller, an app that curates images and videos as a story on a map, and Nokia Video Director for video editing. The tablet is also equipped with Nokia Here Maps and Nokia Music with Mix Radio. The Windows-based tablet will have a price tag of $499.
The Windows RT Challenge
We caught up with Avi Greengart, a principal analyst at Current Analysis, to get his take on the new tablets. He told us a key issue is that Windows RT is still somewhat challenged.
"These tablets are reasonably expensive. They only come with cellular connectivity built in, which in some ways is nice but is not the way most consumers are buying their tablets today," Greengart said. He added that RT still trails Android and iOS by a wide margin when it comes to the number of apps available.
Although Microsoft is in a better position with Windows 8.1 RT and associated apps today than it was when it launched the first Surface tablets in 2012, Windows still trails Apple's iOS for tablet-specific apps by a measure of hundreds of thousands. Plus, Greengart said, the Lumia 2520 is hitting the market at about the same price point as a cellular-enabled Apple Mini with the Retina display.
AT&T's Compelling Deals
"You get a better app experience on iOS. Of course, that issue is not specific to Nokia's implementation of a Windows tablet, it is a key reason why most vendors have given up on RT and are building Intel Atom-based tablets or Intel Core-based tablets that can run classic Windows apps in addition to the new tile user interface," Greengart said.
The bigger question in his mind is this: Regardless of how well the Lumia tablet sells, will it still be in the portfolio after Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia is complete or will the company shift gears and start offering cellular-enabled Surfaces and push the Lumia tablets out? In any case, he said, AT&T has some interesting deals on the devices that could turn consumer heads.
"AT&T will sell you a Lumia 2520 for $200 if you buy the tablet alongside another Nokia product and sign a two-year contract," Greengart said. "That's quite a compelling combination. You'll have a pocket-sized device and a tablet device at a reasonable price that both can access presumably your shared data plan."