Nokia, the world's largest mobile handset maker, is looking at making a tablet device similar to Apple's iPad, a senior executive says.
Tablet devices have emerged as popular gadgets in the past year after the success of the iPad prompted other device makers such as Research In Motion, Samsung and HP to release their own versions.
The number of annual shipments for tablet devices is estimated to reach 81 million by 2015, according to a report from the technology consultancy Juniper Research.
Although Nokia has released several other tablet devices as far back as five years ago, those were smaller, limited in function and failed to offer the same multimedia experience of gadgets such as the iPad or Samsung's Galaxy Tab.
The company has been silent on its tablet plans, preferring to focus on its high-end smartphones.
Analysts say the handset maker needs a new strategy after its global share of the mobile market has fallen over the past few years, to 34 per cent last quarter from 37 per cent in the same period last year, figures from the research company Strategy Analytics show.
"We are always eyeing what I would call the 'neighbouring businesses' to see if it would make sense for us to enter it," said Niklas Savander, an executive vice president and general manager of markets for Nokia, speaking in Dubai.
Mr Savander said Nokia had not yet made a final decision on releasing a tablet and wondered if there was a good business case to be made for another device after the smartphone has already rendered digital cameras and music players obsolete.
The company's main business remains its mobiles and the Middle East market remains one of Nokia's strongest regions.
In the UAE, Nokia continues to outsell any smartphone by a significant margin. About two of every three devices sold are from the Finnish company.
To maintain the company's momentum in the region, Mr Savander said Nokia would be increasing its investment in localised mobile applications.
He said the recent appointment of Stephen Elop, a former Microsoft executive, as the new head of Nokia showed its commitment to software.