The rumors are finally true. In an interview with the Finnish magazine Kauppalehti Optio, Nokia’s senior designer Marko Ahtisaari confirmed that the company is currently developing a tablet designed to rival its competition–including the best-selling iPad.
The new, as-yet-to-be-named tablet is so important to the cell phone company, Ahtisaari said, that its development currently takes up about one-third of his time.
In the past, Nokia has played coy on the subject with Stephen Elop, the company’s Chief Executive Officer pointing out that, in order to be successful, Nokia needs to develop a product that can stand out amid rivals–and stand a chance of chipping away at the iPad market.
Meanwhile, a Nokia company spokesman declined to directly confirm Ahtisarri’s claim.
“We continue to eye the tablet space with interest, but have made no specific announcements,” the spokesman said on Thursday.
Rumors of a Nokia tablet have been circulating for a while, with industry experts speculating that the company, which in the past has sold tablets using the Maemo platform, will introduce a Microsoft Windows 8-compatible device later this year. Insiders believe the new Nokia tablet will utilize the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core chip and likely would be limited to Metro-based apps.
In addition to the tablet, Ahtisaari also hinted that Nokia is developing a “revolutionary” new smart phone that would one-up touch screen devices such as the iPhone with a largely hands-free technology–possibly a proximity-sensing screen like the one used on the upcoming Sony Xperia Sola, which uses a “floating-touch” hands-free hovering technology.