Apple has a tablet. So does RIM. HP Palm too, soon enough. And Android tablets, particularly those running Honeycomb... they're everywhere -- hell, even Sony has a few on the way. That leaves Nokia as the glaring anomaly conspicuously absent from the tablet wars. Understandable, we guess, given the company's urgent need to transition its smartphone strategy to Windows Phone. That doesn't mean the company is standing still though. According to an interview with YLE television in Finland, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop is taking a very calculated approach to tablets, saying, "We could take advantage of Microsoft technology and software, and build a Windows-oriented tablet, or we could do things with some of the other software assets that we have. Our team right now is assessing what's the right tablet strategy for Nokia." In other words, Nokia is investigating tablets running Windows 7 (doubtful), MeeGo (doubtful), and Windows Next, aka that tablet-friendly Windows 8 OS (likely). But here's the most illuminating exchange from the well-mannered Canadian:
There are now over 200 different tablets on the marketplace, only one of them is doing really well. And, my challenge to the team is I don't wanna be the 201st tablet on the market that you can't tell from all of the others. We have to take a uniquely Nokia prospective and so the teams are working very hard on something that would be differentiating relative to everything else that's going on in the market.

Q. So you're not in a hurry?

We're always in a hurry to do the right things, but we're mostly in a hurry to do the right thing.
Makes sense to us and echoes what we've heard about Sony's relatively delayed entry into consumer tablets. Why should Nokia build another me-too tablet when it can tap into the combined Microsoft / Nokia ecosystem and make a grab at some real market share and profit? The entire 20 minute interview is interesting as Elop discusses layoffs, the first Nokia Windows Phone, Symbian, and competing against Apple and Google. Hit the source link for the full deal -- the tablet discussion begins at 10 minutes and 32 seconds.

[Thanks, Pauli N.]