Nokia remains just about the only major mobile manufacturer still to produce its first full-blown tablet, due in part to its decision to adopt Microsoft's smartphone-only Windows Phone platform.
However, outgoing Nokia chairman Jorma Ollila has told us to watch this space, and hinted that Nokia isn't ruling out launching a “phablet”-like hybrid option such as the Asus Padfone.
Nokia has been rolling out the same line on tablets for a while now – something along the lines of “we're interested, but we've got nothing specific to announce”. And speaking to the Financial Times (subscription-only), Ollila repeated the well-worn party line, but this time hinted that Nokia wasn't looking only at tablets in its efforts to widen its form factor portfolio into the future.
“Tablets are an important [market], so that is being looked into,” Ollila said. “And there will be different hybrids, different form factors in the future.”
It's a given that if there is a Nokia tablet in the pipelines, it'll run Windows 8, Microsoft's next-generation OS, which is set to touch down later this year and will have a strong resemblance with the Windows Phone platform thanks to the distinctive Metro interface.
And for Nokia, the concept of a single design and interface language applied across a range of device types, from smartphones to tablets and potentially beyond, is clearly a key consideration.
“We haven't announced anything specifically about tablets. I say that over and over again,” Ollila insisted. “But when you look at it and think about what people are expecting in their digital life, they are expecting some uniformity of experience across their phones, their tablets, their PCs, their automobiles, their gaming platforms.
“We are very interested in the Metro user interface and Metro is clearly the big bet for Microsoft, but again – no specific announcements, but it is something we are interested in.
“[I am] happy with what is happening. When you have such strong competitors in the marketplace it will take a bit of time but things are going well.”
That final point is an important one. When you consider the quality of some of the tablets that haven't succeeded over the last year, you'd have to question the wisdom of Nokia getting into such a tightly contested market at all right now when it's already up against it to turn its fortunes around in the smartphone arena.
So why not just ignore conventional tablets altogether for now and instead take a punt on one of those “different hybrids, different form factors” Ollila mentioned? After all, when Windows 8 emerges there certainly won't be a shortage of PC and tablet makers flooding the market with new devices, so why even get involved in a fight you're likely to lose?
Believe me, I'd much rather have Nokia prove me wrong on that score than see the company take another hit with a failed attempt at taking on the leading tablet players. But I also know which of those two outcomes is the more likely.