Microsoft Surface with Windows RT
Microsoft Surface with Windows RT, running Windows 8. Microsoft

Rumors of a Nokia-branded tablet are new, as the company has been teasing its own tablet release over the past year. However, the electronics manufacturer may confirm some solid details come February.

Microsoft, Qualcomm and Compal Electronics are reportedly resuming development of a 10-inch Nokia tablet that will run on Windows RT, according to DigiTimes. Speculation about Nokia’s self-branded tablet emerged earlier this year, and rumors indicated that the slate would come equipped with a dual-core Qualcomm system on a chip. Initial shipments have also been rumored to reach 200,000, and it has been reported that Nokia may unveil this product at February’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Although Microsoft’s Surface tablet is believed to be the flagship Windows RT device on the market, Nokia allegedly pushed back the launch of its rumored tablet following Microsoft’s announcement in October.

If these allegations turn out to be a true, a reveal at the Mobile World Congress would be a smart move for Nokia. The company doesn’t have a huge presence at next month’s Consumer Electronics Showcase in Las Vegas, but Barcelona’s annual event also sets the stage for what will be happening in the tech industry for 2013.

As 2012 comes to an end, speculation about launch plans for next year are continuing to heighten. While tech specs for this alleged Nokia tablet have not been revealed at this time, a source has confirmed to The Verge that AT&T is planning to stock a Nokia tablet next year.

Back in March of this year, Nokia’s head of design Marko Ahtisaari told Finnish magazine Kauppalehti Optio that he spends a third of his time working on a new tablet. Given Ahtisaari’s role in being responsible for both hardware and software design at Nokia, that’s a significant amount of time to dedicate to one project.

Microsoft’s Surface tablet has gotten off to a less than desirable start, but perhaps a bright Lumia-esque tablet from Nokia is exactly what the platform needs. Nokia currently produces what has been referred to as the top Windows Phone 8 device: the Lumia 920. Mobile ad company AdDuplex released an infographic in the beginning of December that listed Nokia’s flagship Windows Phone 8 handset as the most popular smartphone based on Microsoft’s mobile operating system. In addition, the Lumia 920 sold out on and in certain AT&T store locations at the end of November, the Los Angeles Times reported.

There has been no indication that Nokia’s rumored tablet will incorporate the company’s Lumia design, but the fact that an AT&T source confirmed its plans to release a tablet from the Norwegian-based manufacturer could be a sign. The Nokia Lumia 920 was launched as an AT&T exclusive, making the carrier a flagship network for Nokia’s mobile devices. It would make sense that Nokia would launch its first Lumia tablet on AT&T as well.

If Nokia does plan to release a tablet next year, there is another factor that may work in its favor. Poor reception of Microsoft’s Surface could be partially attributed to unclear interpretations of the Redmond, Wash.-based company’s Windows RT operating system. While this software strongly resembles Windows 8, the OS differs in that it is not compatible with traditional Windows apps.

In a sense, Windows RT can be though of as a mobile version of Windows 8 that is compatible with tablets only, just like Windows Phone 8 is Microsoft’s smartphone version of its latest software. Windows RT is based on an ARM chipset, while Windows 8 devices run on PCs bearing an Intel-based chip.

Microsoft failed to make this explicitly clear to the public initially, but perhaps Windows RT will gain more traction by next year’s Mobile World Congress.