Oct. 22, 2013 at 3:59 AM ET
Nokia finally announced its long-rumored Windows 8 tablet, the Lumia 2520, on Tuesday, alongside the enormous new Lumia 1520, a 6-inch phablet that rivals the largest mobile devices on the market. But can the colorful devices make a dent in the highly competitive market they're entering?
There have been whispers of a Nokia tablet for years, but they stepped up in recent months, boosted by news of Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's devices group. Now the 2520 is a reality, though it may disappoint people looking for a serious alternative to Microsoft's Surface, not to mention all of the Android tablets or iPads.
The Lumia 2520 has a 10.1-inch, 1080p screen covered in Gorilla glass, and features the colorful, understated design of the other Lumia devices. It has a solid 6.7-megapixel rear camera and an ordinary front one, built-in 4G LTE wireless, and uses a 2.2-GHz, quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor. Unfortunately, it runs Windows RT.
Windows RT, a light version of Windows 8 that brings much of the frustration without as much payoff as the full Windows 8, has sold poorly even following major price reductions. People seem to like the idea of the Modern interface, but are wary of the platform's limited apps, as well as the lack of a fully functional classic Windows environment.
Can Nokia's reliably good industrial design and some innovative apps and accessories, like the company's excellent Here maps and a powerful keyboard cover, overcome the buying public's skepticism of Windows RT? It'd be nice, but we wouldn't bet on it. At $499 (and an extra $149 for the cool keyboard case), it faces a lot of healthy competition.
The company's new phablet may fare better. The Lumia 1520's 6-inch, 1080p screen is even larger than the ones on the Galaxy Note 3 and HTC One Max, both of which were already pushing the boundaries of what can really be considered a "mobile phone." Yet people can't seem to get enough of such category-defying devices.
The 1520 will definitely give the competitors a run for their money. For one thing, it's equipped with one of Nokia's fabulous Pureview cameras; the Nokia 1020 won our phone shootout by miles, and this one may perform even better due to improved image handling on the top-end Snapdragon processor (the same as in the 2520 tablet). The larger screen means an extra column of apps for your homescreen, and the giant 3400 mAh battery will hopefully keep the phone-tablet hybrid running for a good long time, as well.
With a host of new services and apps (like Instagram, Flipboard and stylus-based handwriting), this huge and powerful phone may actually turn the heads of people mulling the phablet lifestyle.
The 1520 should, like the 2520, be available before the end of the year. No word on carriers, but off-contract the device will cost $749, so you can expect to see premium pricing when it shows up at your local mobile provider.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.