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Nokia planning new touch-screen tablet?

One analyst says Finnish phone giant Nokia is working on a new touch-screen tablet that could be out as early as this fall.

Didn't it seem like just yesterday that everyone and their brother was announcing plans to launch an e-reader? Well, now that the Apple iPad has landed, we wouldn't be surprised to see the floodgates opening and tablet announcements flying just as fast and furiously, if not more so.

One of Nokia's past Internet devices: the N810. Nokia

Today's supposed contender: Finnish phone giant Nokia, which is working with design and manufacturing partners on a new touch-screen tablet that could emerge as early as this fall--at least according to one analyst, Ashok Kumar of Rodman Renshaw.

"Nokia hasn't fielded any breakaway products in years," quotes Kumar as saying. "This is a new window, and Nokia had better be at the starting gate if and when the product category takes off."

Nokia, of course, isn't new to portable Internet devices, having in the last five years come out with the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet and subsequent N800, N810, and N900, not to mention the Nokia Booklet 3G Netbook.

It's unclear whether the alleged Nokia tablet that's getting ink Tuesday would be a follow-on to that line of devices or a more full-featured direct competitor to the iPad and HP Slate, as well as devices sure to come from the likes of Dell, Lenovo, and any of the other companies eyeing tablet territory. The timing would suggest the latter.

Also of note: Nokia and Intel's technology merger earlier this year fusing Intel's Moblin and Nokia's Maemo software to form a new operating environment dubbed MeeGo. It's expected to power a range of devices, including pocketable mobile computers, Netbooks, tablets, connected TVs, and in-vehicle infotainment systems.