One of Microsoft’s biggest flops in recent history definitely was Windows RT. RT was designed as a tablet OS looking similar to Windows 8, but RT could only run Windows Store apps. RT was an ARM-based OS, so running real PC programs was impossible. As expected, Nokia followed Microsoft’s RT idea and introduced its first real tablet the Nokia 2520 at the end of 2013. Apart from the 10.1-inch 2520, Nokia had planned an 8-inch Windows RT tablet codenamed Nokia Illusionist, later known as Nokia/Microsoft Mercury.
The idea about the 8-inch tablet first appeared in late 2013, suggesting the device is ready for unveiling at MWC14. Luckily for Microsoft, who was at that time acquiring Nokia’s Devices and Services unit, Stephen Elop decided to cancel the 8-inch tablet for, allegedly, 3 reasons. First, an 8-inch Lumia tablet could be a direct competitor to Microsoft’s Surface Pro Mini, which was later also cancelled. Second reason is the unpopularity of Windows RT for the lack of apps in the Store, and thirdly, the market was not keen to 8-inch tablets at that time.
Today, information from China suggest that a prototype unit of Mercury was captured on photos (above), with a spec sheet that consists of an 8-inch FullHD screen, Windows RT, and an Intel Atom processor. The device in the pictures does not have any Nokia or Microsoft brandings, nor the famous proto.nokia.commark that existed on every legit Nokia prototype we saw. With a high dose of confidence, we can say that the above pictured device is not a cancelled Nokia tablet, but a Chinese mockup.
*Gallery of Nokia Mercury with a bunch of Nokia/Lumia devices
So why write about it, if it’s not legit? HMD said that they are working on various Nokia-branded devices, including a tablet. Nokia has already introduced an 8-incher called N1, that was exclusively on sale in China. The Mercury mockup resembles pretty accurately Nokia’s award-winning Fabula design language, and it would be shame if HMD refuses to use some core principles of Fabula for their first tablet. Don’t get me wrong, Nokia N1 is a nice looking device, but a “Fabula design” device will definitely stand out from others on the crowded market of Android tablets, and that’s what HMD needs – attention and a chance.