The battle for tablet supremacy is pretty clearly being waged between Apple and its many Android-based rivals, particularly from Korean electronics giant Samsung. But while iOS and Android duke it out, Microsoft and its mobile-friendly operating system, Windows RT, are desperately trying to stay relevant. But while Microsoft has undoubtedly stumbled with its barely-bought line of Surface tablets, it seems that former cell phone titan Nokia is doubling down. Rumors are swirling that the company is preparing to release a Windows RT tablet codenamed the Nokia Sirius.
According to a post on the Verge, which sites “sources familiar with Nokia’s plans,” the Sirius is a 10.1-inch tablet that will launch soon. As for specs, the post claims that it’ll offer up a display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, the Snapdragon 800 processor, and 2GB of RAM, not to mention LTE data connectivity, a microSD port, and 32GB of internal storage. And that’s not all: the post says that Nokia will make a keyboard accessory—possibly in the style of the Surface’s excellent keyboard cover peripherals—and that it’s all scheduled to be unveiled on September 26.
All in all, the Sirius sounds like it’s got plenty going for it in the feature department, and the post says it’s also “thinner than the current iPad, and lighter at just over a pound in weight.” Additionally, the post says that the tablet will be priced to compete with the iPad as well. Clearly Nokia’s gunning for the top dog, which raises a very important question: is Windows RT really the best way to do that?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing Windows outright. I use Windows 7 every day, and I recently (finally) bought myself a Windows 8 tablet. My computing life basically revolves around Windows, and I really dig the Metro style interface a ton. But it’s clear that it hasn’t caught on with most users. Worse, there is a major dearth of software available in the Windows Store, and it’s hard not to feel annoyed at all the great Android apps I’m missing out on. So then why is Nokia going the route of Windows RT when it’s clear that it’s in a way distant third place?
I’m not sure I have an answer, but it’s clear that Nokia likes what it sees. Obviously the Lumia 1020 is an important component in its strategy. And there’s something to be said for locking down a niche product. Nokia certainly has the chance to make Windows RT seem cool, especially if the Sirius offers the aforementioned features and options that the iPad doesn’t in terms of expandable memory, a branded keyboard, and the rest.
But will Nokia’s Sirius have enough juice to capture a large install-base? After all, the more users there are on a platform, the more potential there is for developers to come in and make apps. Currently Windows RT is suffering in a vicious cycle: no users means no apps, and no apps means no users. If Nokia can get people interested in Windows RT from the hardware side of things, then it’s possible that the platform could start becoming relevant.
At the same time, it’d have to sell an awful lot of tablets and phones to get even close to that point. I’d be surprised if Nokia can lead the charge for Windows RT on its own, but from what I can tell, that’s exactly what the company’s going for.
So I ask you: would you be interested in a Nokia Sirius tablet with the specs outlined above running on Android? Or would those features be enough to get you interested in a Windows RT tablet?