Nokia's plans to get into the touch-only tablet market were supported on Tuesday by two patent filings published by the USPTO. Both are thin, full-touch designs but vary sharply in their looks. The first, D634,317, takes its cues from modern Nokia Symbian phones like the N8 and E7; the second, D634,318, is slightly more conventional and has a U-shaped shell where the main body fills in the gap.
Both patents show a device that would have just one identifiable button, possibly like the navigation key on Symbian^3 devices. They would also share PC-like expansion. Dotted markings on the size point to them likely having a pair of USB ports as well as card readers and possibly HDMI video out. A headphone jack is certain on either.
A USPTO filing isn't necessarily a sign of a product plan, but the two were submitted the same day in May 2010 by the same British design team. They show the Nokia was actively exploring a touch-only tablet just weeks after the iPad shipped. It might have encountered a setback after the Nokia-Microsoft deal as any plans to use Symbian might have been shelved. A MeeGo tablet has been rumored for late this year and would be the only candidate left unless Nokia was willing to try a Windows 7 slate.
Nokia is no stranger to tablets but has previously focused on thick, keyboard-driven devices like the N700 and N800 series.