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Nokia Shows Off Windows Tablet, Looks to Differentiate Lumia 2520 With Connectivity, Design

While it’s no secret that Nokia has been working on a tablet, the company has taken its time bringing one to market, saying that it didn’t want to release anything until it could offer something different from its competitors. Well, today, we got a glimpse of that product and at first glance, it’s not all that unique.

Introduced at a special event in Abu Dhabi, alongside the Lumia 1520 and 1320 and a trio of new Asha phones, the Lumia 2520 is Nokia’s first Windows tablet. It runs Windows 8.1 RT and has a 10.1-inch full HD (1080p) touchscreen. On back, there’s a 6.7-megapixel camera and a front-facing two-megapixel camera for video calls — all pretty standard stuff so far. But one of the things that sets the tablet apart from others, Nokia said, is connectivity.

“When we were looking to create a tablet, one of the things we looked at was how people use tablets, and we found that 80 percent of consumers use them in the home,” said Ifi Majid, Nokia’s head of product marketing for North America, in an interview with AllThingsD. “We thought there was an opportunity to differentiate and change that, so we wanted to make a connected device that can also be used outside of the home.”

As a result, the Lumia 2520 comes with both Wi-Fi and 4G LTE connectivity. There will be no Wi-Fi-only model. With the added radio, battery life could be a concern, but Nokia claims the tablet can offer eight to 10 hours of battery life. This is, in part, due to the Qualcomm quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, which also allows for faster charging. You can get about a 50 percent charge in 30 minutes and about 80 percent in an hour. Nokia also plans to sell a keyboard cover that provides an additional five hours of battery life.

Nokia pointed to the Lumia 2520’s design as another differentiator. It features a unibody design and comes in red, white, black and cyan. The company also touts that the tablet’s screen offers better outdoor readability than the iPad or Surface.

Admittedly, the Lumia 2520 is a good-looking device, but it’s hard to argue that the tablet offers anything game changing or dramatically different from the competition. It’s a Windows RT tablet with LTE.

There’s also the issue that consumers have not taken to Windows RT. In July, Microsoft permanently reduced the price of the Surface RT, which resulted in a $900 million write-down for the company. Meanwhile, other device manufactures like Dell and Asus have abandoned Windows RT tablets altogether.

But Nokia argues that Windows 8.1 addresses some of the criticisms of Windows RT, and not surprisingly, points to some of its own software as selling points. There’s an onboard video editor, and Nokia worked in collaboration with DreamWorks to come up with an exclusive Dragons Adventure game based on the film “How to Train Your Dragon” for the tablet.

“We need to bring good reasons for people to take on a big-screen device, and the reasons that we’re thinking of are our differentiators and Microsoft’s assets,” said Majid. “When you see Office, you can do more on there. When you see entertainment, like Xbox and Nokia Music, you can play more on there and we think that’s really compelling to consumers.”

Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen. The Lumia 2520 will have much competition this holiday shopping season. Microsoft’s Surface 2 goes on sale today, and Apple is expected to announce new iPads at its event later today.

The Lumia 2520 is expected to be available in time for the holidays for an unsubsidized price of $499. AT&T has already committed to carrying the tablet, but no word yet on other carrier partners.

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