By Siobhan Keogh
Tablets were the big consumer product of the day, with both Nokia and Apple unveiling new devices in the last 24 hours.
Nokia’s 4G Windows tablet, the Lumia 2520, is a first for the Finnish company, which until now has focused on constructing mid-range to high-end smartphones for the Windows Phone platform. The Lumia 2520 won’t be running Windows Phone, however – its operating system is the slimmed down version of Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 RT.
The Lumia 2520 has a 10.1-inch display – the same size as Apple’s original iPad. It’s also powerful for a Windows RT tablet, with a 2.2GHz quad-core processor and 2GB RAM. That’s slightly more powerful than the Microsoft’s current flagship tablet, the Surface 2.
Given Nokia and Microsoft are more than a little friendly – Microsoft acquired Nokia’s devices and services business earlier this year – it’s interesting that both companies are releasing tablets that are essentially competitors, especially as the Surface 2 just released yesterday. That said, Nokia hasn’t announced a release date for the Lumia 2520 yet, and in the U.S. the Finnish company’s tablet comes with an extra $50 written on the pricetag, so the Surface 2 has its advantages.
Tech blogger Owen Wilson was also confused about the timing of Nokia’s release.
“If the device sticks around – it is beautifully designed, one of the best non-Apple devices I’ve seen – my best guess is it’ll be renamed and put under the ‘Surface’ brand, perhaps to replace the current RT device in the future,” he said.
For fans of Apple’s brand of consumer tech, the company has unveiled a new version of its iPad, called the iPad Air. The iPad Air aligns with Apple’s original line of iPads in that it has a 10.1-inch display, but it weighs just 0.45kg compared to the previous version’s 0.64kg. It might not sound like either of them weigh much, but that kind of difference is certainly noticeable.
Apple also announced a new version of its smaller tablet, the iPad mini.
“What was interesting about the event is it seems they are starting to feel the pressure,” said Wilson on the Apple launch. He pointed out that presenters had spent a significant amount of time talking about the company’s market share and the criticism of ‘haters’.
“I think they’ve suddenly realised they aren’t the only kids in town and Android [and] Microsoft are starting to catch up and ramp up their products.”
But Wilson still thinks the new iPad and iPad mini are compelling. The pricing of those devices has always been lower than Windows tablets, and the low price point of the iPad mini makes it appealing.
For now, Apple’s still very much ahead in the tablet market. However, with analysts claiming that Samsung’s Android tablets are now cannibalising iPad sales, Apple might be right to be wary.