First Intel, now Microsoft. What is Nokia planning?

That's probably the question on most people's mind if they can remember back as far as month ago when Nokia was dishing out the information on another alliance it had forged.

Putting two and two together to possibly make five, does Wednesday's announcement between Microsoft and Nokia pave the way for a stronger move into the netbook or tablet market?

First the company signs the agreement with intel to provide the chips and some of the components to create a new range of mobile devices that moves "beyond today’s smartphones, notebooks and netbooks".

With that agreement in place and no firm commitment on when the first device will be commercially available, the company has continued its push into the business arena with the alliance with Microsoft that will see the Redmond software company's products on Nokia handsets from 2010.

According to Kai Öistämö executive vice president for Nokia's devices unit the Microsoft agreement is however much "more than putting Microsoft products on Nokia smartphones."

It's funny because he said something very similar around the intel Nokia announcement:

"We will explore new ideas in designs, materials and displays that will go far beyond devices and services on the market today. This collaboration will be compelling not only for our companies, but also for our industries, our partners and, of course, for consumers."

Of course as gadget fans we just want products and Nokia stated in the announcement conference call that it would be appearing on the E Series first but, looking back at the bigger picture, in the last two months, Nokia has signed agreements with Intel and Microsoft, two very heavy PC centric companies. It has also bought Cellity, which it says is to "strengthen its competencies in the area of social networking."

Add that to rumours of a web tablet in the guise of a supersized N97 called the RX-51 and you start to wonder whether or not Nokia has something that it is building up to maybe for an announcement as soon as the beginning of September.

Three big announcements and a host of leaks later and it's not so far fetched to believe that Nokia is looking to crack into an area that isn't just more phones.

While I don't expect to see anything that fits that bill at Nokia World in September on the market before Christmas, the company could outline a move to shift into a more PC/business centric model.
After all it used the annual conference in 2008 to announce the N97, a handset that didn't actually make it to market for some 7 months.

But again back to that bigger picture. On closer inspection, Wednesday's Microsoft software announcement didn't have to be as big as it was. Microsoft already works with plenty of mobile phone makers and software providers to warrant an announcement on its own. Either Nokia setting the stage for something bigger next month, or Symbian is so antiquated that it has to be announced this way. For the conspiracy theorists out there lets hope it's something more exciting.

Either way, it seems interesting times are ahead for Nokia regardless.


>