Nokia Lumia Windows 8 Tab Coming Later This Year?

Nokia and Microsoft, sitting in a tree. K.I.S.S.i.n.g. First came WinPhone, then comes ARM tabs, then comes a baby in a baby carriage!

If an unconfirmed Digitimes report is to be believed, Nokia is set to release a 10-inch Windows 8 tablet later this year. The report says the tab would hit the streets sometime in the fourth quarter, which would likely make it among the first batch of Windows 8 tablets. It’s reportedly built on a dual-core Qualcomm ARM chipset allowing Nokia to keep the price competitive with the iPad.

But the timing is perfect. A Nokia tablet, if it’s built to the same quality standards as the Lumia 800/900 smartphone, is exactly what Microsoft needs to kickstart Windows 8 and properly fight the iPad.

Right now Nokia is winning. The company leapfrogged HTC and Samsung in just one quarter to become the top Windows Phone vendor. Consumers are loving the Lumia product line; The Verge’s Chris Ziegler declared that he might replace his Galaxy Nexus with the 900. They’re great products and are quickly making fans. By the time this tablet rolls around, it’s completely plausible that Windows Phones, led by the quality Nokia Lumia line, will be the new iPhone alternative. People are going to want companion tablets.

There is still plenty of room for another tablet platform. iOS is the dominant platform, but outside of highly curated devices like the Fire and Nook Tablet, Android has struggled so far. A Windows device led with a smart and powerful marketing campaign could break the iPad’s tight grip.

Microsoft needs an instant fan favorite to get Windows 8 off the ground. Samsung, Asus and HP’s recent stumbles show they cannot be trusted with such a task. Windows 8 does not need a clusterstorm of Galaxy Tab-ish devices. The platform needs a flagship device to rally behind. Nokia is the only vendor I would trust with the task. I’m that taken by the Lumia 800/900.

It wasn’t that long ago that Nokia was all but dead. But then they signed a deal with Redmond that essentially saved the company by forcing it back to its mass-market roots. The company is still producing a gaggle of low-cost handsets, but its affordable Lumia Windows Phone product line is classic Nokia: solid plastic feel, a forever battery life, and reliable software. Hopefully a Nokia tablet would be more of the same.

Digitimes cites sources at upstream component suppliers for its info. There’s really no way to verify the report. However, Nokia has long talked of a Windows 8 tablet; one is on its way. It’s going to have a seemingly no-win situation no matter when it launches. If this latest report is correct, the Nokia tab would have to battle not only the new iPad but also likely a new Amazon Fire. If Nokia pushes the launch until 2013, it would have to fight for market share against the new new iPad. Still, it’s important to remember that it’s never too late to launch a great product. Hopefully a Nokia/Windows 8 tablet will be such a device.