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Nokia plans 'hybrid' tablets

Nokia has admitted it was too slow getting into the smart phone market -- but it has plans to experiment with "hybrid" tablets.

Nokia has admitted it was too slow to get stuck into the smart phone revolution -- but it has plans to experiment with "hybrid" tablets to turn things around.

Departing Nokia chairman Jorma Ollila told Financial Times that Nokia moved too slowly at the start of the smart phone revolution. He also shared some of Nokia's plans to turn things around, including "different hybrids, different form factors".

That suggests we could see some new tablet designs, which is interesting but not necessarily wise. Only the Asus Transformer Prime has really succeeded in tinkering with the classic flat, thin tablet formula -- and only then by not straying too far from the archetype.

The Asus Eee Pad Slider and Sony Tablet P, both interesting and quirky takes on the tablet formula, have been less successful. Instead, Nokia could be planning an oversized phone -- or pocket-sized tablet -- similar to the 5.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Note. Some people call it a 'phablet'. I'd rather those people were shot out of a cannon, but seeing as the alternative is 'tablone', I guess we're stuck with phablet.

Nokia seems to be working towards a range of Lumia phones in all shapes and sizes, starting with the budget Nokia Lumia 610, the 3.7-inch Nokia Lumia 800 and the 4.3-inch Nokia Lumia 900. It's a strategy that's worked for Samsung, which offers phones and tablets in every size, from the dinky Samsung Galaxy Mini to the hefty new 4.8-inch Galaxy S3, all the way up to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. And of course, bridging the gap between phone and tablet is the Note.

Offering something for everyone has made Samsung the biggest phone manufacturer in the world, ending Nokia's 14-year reign. So the phone-frenzied Finns are no doubt looking to pull off a similar trick with the Windows Phone Lumia range. They'll certainly get a boost when Windows 8 arrives later in the year, but can Nokia return to its rightful place at the top of the mobile phone tree?

Will phablets restore Nokia's fortunes? Tell me your thoughts on Nokia's future and on phablets in general in the comments or on our Facebook page.