Nokia wants its tablet to stand out?...

Vlad Savov wrote a piece a few weeks ago about Nokia and Microsoft ( in which he quite rightly points out that Microsoft, by creating the Surface in-house, has potentially strangled what could have been a major strategic boon for Nokia in the form of a Windows 8 tablet.

He (along with the rest of the Mobile Show crew, who talked about it on the podcast) is absolutely right that Nokia's big obvious advantage would have been the design acumen they bring to the table, which, for all the company's woes, is still a department in which they can clearly dominate most other OEMs. So I was thinking, if Nokia is going up against the Surface, how do they come out on top?

One way would be through the force of their supply chain - it's possible that their collective experience will allow them to churn out more tablets than Microsoft, and for less. Even if that turns out not to be true, it appears that the Surface may be US-only for a while, which would be a major opportunity for Nokia (and other tablet OEMs).

But if they really want to stand out from the pack, I think their best bet would be by way of an area in which they have a great deal of expertise: software.

More specifically, I would like to see them capitalize on the obvious synergy between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 and take it to the next level.

Why not offer apps, exclusive to their Windows 8 tablet, that hook into their phones? We know that both OSs make use of NFC (and Bluetooth, obviously), and Windows 8 has some sort of tap-to-share capability. What's stopping Nokia from extrapolating from this and connecting the two devices, a la John Rubenstein's vision for WebOS phones and tablets. I almost always have my phone on me, but if I'm using a tablet, it would be incredibly useful if a phone call or text message could be forwarded to the device in my hands. If I'm sitting at an airport in the middle of reading an article when my flight starts boarding, it would be pretty amazing if I could transfer that webpage to my phone while I wait in line.

This isn't a new concept - it's has been achieved before, but either on dying platforms (WebOS) or in an imperfect way that requires a lot of setup and maintenance (Android). But it's never reached the mainstream. If Nokia could pull this off, I think they'd have a really strong argument for both their tablet and their phone doing something that no one else in the market does, which is increasingly important in a mobile industry where devices are looking more and more alike. Maybe I'm crazy, but they'd have my money.