Microsoft and Nokia converge in screen size
Windows giant's CFO almost confirms rumors of a 7-inch Surface, while Nokia said to be readying a WP8 phablet
Published: 19 April, 2013
Microsoft has all but confirmed rumors that it is working on a smaller, 7-inch Surface tablet. The device has been reported for weeks, but outgoing CFO Peter Klein said, during the giant's earnings call, that it was working with partners to produce "a new suite of small touch devices powered by Windows" that would be available "in the coming months."
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Microsoft, which had initially not favored a 7-inch design, had changed its mind when it saw the success of Google's Nexus 7, Amazon's Kindle Fire and the 7.9-inch iPad mini.
Meanwhile, Microsoft's primary Windows Phone partner, Nokia, is also said to be considering new screen sizes, though it is still staying away from full tablets, perhaps to avoid clashing with the Surface RT range. Similarly, Microsoft recently said that it would not produce its own smartphone as long as OEMs like Nokia and HTC were turning out strong Windows Phone models.
However, if the two allies have a tacit agreement to stay off one another's turf for the present, the phablet will be an awkward middle ground. Currently targeted by neither, but with its market legs proven by the Galaxy Note, the 5.5-inch size is reported to be Nokia's next move. That could see the two partners getting closer to one another in screen size, but not quite overlapping yet.
A Lumia phablet would add an inch to the size of the current flagship, the 920, which is 4.5-inches. According to Financial Times sources, the device will aim to outdo the popular Note in its feature set, which will presumably mean a firm focus on Nokia's real strengths in imaging and navigation. The phablet might even be the much anticipated first Windows Phone product to incorporate Nokia's PureView 41-megapixel camera technology (see separate item), which is currently supported only in a Symbian handset.
Meanwhile, Samsung is supporting seemingly endless size variations within Galaxy, to see which hit the sweet spot among users. As well as multiple sizes for the Note and Tab, it recently added two Galaxy Mega models, at 5.8-inches and 6.3-inches.