UPDATE 2-Nokia, others seen following Apple in tablet push

Tue Apr 6, 2010 2:24pm EDT

 * Rodman and Renshaw analyst says Nokia working on tablet
 * Nokia declines to comment
 * PC makers, handset vendors to battle in tablet market
 * Follows weekend launch of rival Apple's iPad
 (Adds more quotes, background)
 By Jim Finkle and Tarmo Virki
 BOSTON/HELSINKI, April 6 (Reuters) - The world's top
cellphone maker, Nokia (NOK1V.HE), is working on its own tablet
computer, scheduled to reach stores later this year, a
technology sector analyst said on Tuesday.
 Many other handset makers and PC vendors, including Samsung
Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) and Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N) ,
are expected to follow Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) move into the new
category of devices, between traditional PCs and smartphones.
 Over the weekend, Apple sold more than 300,000 iPads on the
tablet computer's first day in stores, a strong showing that
roughly matched Wall Street forecasts and mirrored the iPhone's
debut in 2007. [ID:nSGE6340DJ]
 The runaway success of iPhone surprised Nokia, and it took
almost two years for the Finnish firm to roll out its first
phone model with a large touch screen.
 The cellphone maker entered the PC industry last year when
it introduced its first laptop. It has sold small phone-like
devices for browsing the Internet since 2005, but with very
limited success.
 "You don't want to give that much of a lead to Apple
because it otherwise becomes insurmountable," said Ashok Kumar,
analyst with Rodman and Renshaw.
 "Right now the supply chain (for a Nokia tablet) is being
primed up for a fall release. It has to be on the shelf by
September-October to meet demand for the holiday window," Kumar
said.
 A spokesman for Nokia declined to comment.
 OTHERS TO FOLLOW SHORTLY TOO
 "The market will play host to a flood of 'me too' tablets
in 2010, but it's an immature product category with an unproven
use case," said CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber.
 "Apple's brand and service offering means the iPad will be
an exception in a category that will struggle to gain consumer
acceptance," Blaber said.
 Kumar said the device would likely use Microsoft Corp's
(MSFT.O) Windows software, but several other analysts said it
could also use the new MeeGo operating system, the software
venture of Nokia and Intel Corp (INTC.O).
 "MeeGo is probably aimed mostly at the tablet market. I
don't think Nokia or Samsung can afford to stay out of the
tablet market," said Tero Kuittinen, analyst at MKM Partners.
 "Nokia simply has to make a go at this segment, since it
may end up cannibalizing the high-end smartphone market
substantially," Kuittinen said.
 Analysts expect Apple to sell 1 million or more iPads in
the current quarter ending in June. Wall Street expects the
company to sell around 5 million in 2010, although estimates
vary widely.
  <Take a Look on Apple's iPad                [ID:nN01151949]
Graphic on iPad sales:      link.reuters.com/qev26j
Live blog from launch:  blogs.reuters.com/mediafile>
 (Editing by Simon Jessop and Gerald E. McCormick)


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