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Nokia Is Too Late and Too Dumb for Tablets

It's raining tablets today.

The morning began with retail availability of Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) Surface 2 line, followed by Nokia's (NYSE: NOK  ) unveiling of its first Windows tablet. Things don't really get exciting until Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) dusts off its new iPad line, but this so-called Tablet Tuesday failed to birth a slab that speaks the market leading language of Android.

We know that Apple's going to be a force. The masses may flock to cheaper Android hardware, but folks that actually use their tablets -- as well as the many schools and companies "going iPad" -- will eat into anything that the consumer tech giant puts out. Microsoft's going to have a hard time to get its expensive Surface 2 Pro to make a dent in the marketplace, but at least it fills a serviceable need for high-end PC users that want a true Windows 8 experience on a flat portable device. 

Then we get to Surface 2, which seems about as necessary as Grown Ups 2. If the first one was a stinker, why bother with the sequel? Microsoft took a $900 million charge to write off its mistake in putting out the original limited tablet backed by Windows RT. Slightly improving the hardware and shaving $50 off the cover charge isn't going to be enough. But even Surface 2 isn't the real loser of Tablet Tuesday. That honor has to go to Nokia.

The Finnish smartphone maker finally got into the tablet market, and it's once again thanking Microsoft for running the company to the ground by tethering itself even tighter to Microsoft's fledgling mobile platforms. Nokia's Lumia 2520 is decent-looking tablet with respectable specs, but it's not going to go anywhere with its stiff price tag and Windows RT backing.

Source: Nokia.

Yes, Windows RT. The same platform that failed Microsoft at $499 last year is back, and guess Nokia's price point? That's right. It also starts at $499. You don't match the iPad's price and get away with it. History has proven that over the years, and that was with nimbler and earlier companies than Nokia. Yes, the Lumia 2520 also comes with LTE. That will be great for wireless carriers, but there's a reason why 80% of the tablets out there are merely Wi-Fi beasts. Stephen Elop tried to pass that statistic off as a positive for his Lumia 2520, but he missed the point about folks choosing cheaper Wi-Fi tablets because tablets aren't worth cumbersome data plans to most of its users. If you're a serious tablet user -- guess what -- you're not going to want a Windows RT device.

Obviously Nokia is going to do stupid things as it hands over its devices and services business to Microsoft. But why would it rationally choose to put out an overpriced Surface 2? That's not Grown Ups 2. That's Grown Ups 2 and a Half. Nokia wouldn't have had much of a market if it had to put out a tablet with the horsepower to handle Windows 8 the way that Surface 2 Pro does, but this is just a choice between dumb and dumber. Nokia chose dumber.

I know this sounds harsh, but let's see where the Lumia 2520 is when Tablet Tuesday rolls around next year.

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Read/Post Comments (7) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 22, 2013, at 1:55 PM, techy46 wrote:

    The Fools really need to broaden their intellectual knowledge about what's really going on with Android and Windows mobile devices. Fools might want to take a look at Asus T100, Acer W4, Dell Venue 8 and Lenovo Mixx 2 and those are just the 8" Windows 8.1 devices. I believe Android tablets now start at $179 and Windows 8.1 tablets at $279. Next you can take a look at all-in-1, 2-in-1, 3-in-1 and Ultrabooks. Apple's going to be in deep do-do but their fans can keep editing their family albums while Windows users are at work.

  • Report this Comment On October 22, 2013, at 2:02 PM, techy46 wrote:

    Oh, the Nokia Lumia 2520 is actually a 10" notebook, smart phone and tablet that has a pretty nice camera, full Office 2013 and both LTE and Wifi connectivity. I'd call it a 3-in-1 for u Fools.

  • Report this Comment On October 22, 2013, at 2:20 PM, techy46 wrote:

    You can always buy an iPad Air with LTE for $629.

  • Report this Comment On October 22, 2013, at 3:52 PM, will1946 wrote:

    Not an interesting article, just a rehash of the apple adherents. Blah, blah, blah. We shall see.

  • Report this Comment On October 22, 2013, at 5:08 PM, Bull683 wrote:

    "If you're a serious tablet user..."

    If is such a thing and you are, then you're not on an iPad anything!

  • Report this Comment On October 22, 2013, at 5:20 PM, Bull683 wrote:

    "If you're a serious tablet user...."

    If there is such a thing and you are one, then you will not be on an iPad anything.

  • Report this Comment On October 23, 2013, at 10:12 AM, windowstruth wrote:

    Price is the main problem. Apple led and while there was no competition, had great margins, and made billions. Typically Microsoft would follow on with cheaper hardware made independent by their software...however Ballmer's fumbling let Google do this with Android now they have captured the mass market of cheap devices. Microsoft might have been able to retreat to the Enterprise but Windows 7 serves them better due to that Start Button.

    Possible Opportunities...

    1. A third party that builds a consistent overlay interface for Windows 8, Android and Google,

    2. ...and VMware on mobile that runs all three on the same device repeating its success in the server market.

    3.Tablets to Private Cloud, contain the market by rendering the tablet no more than a dumb terminal. Microsoft to unlock RDP Hosting for free, for home users on all existing Windows versions before they leave the ecosystem for good.

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