Microsoft is working on a tablet-specific version of Windows expected to be released in September 2012, as the company looks to re-establish itself in the portable market.
The operating system will aim to improve touch-screen and battery performance, and public testing is due to start at the end of this year, according to a Bloomberg report.
A 2012 release date is not ideal, but there will still be space for Microsoft in the tablet market, Francisco Jeronimo, research manager for European mobile devices at IDC, told V3.co.uk.
"A Nokia-Microsoft tablet will almost definitely be released as the firms look to gain a foothold in this highly lucrative market," he said.
"Consumers perceive tablets as a mobile device, and this is an area where the partnership could realise success."
The iPad 2 will continue to dominate the consumer market, but Microsoft's best chance of launching a successful tablet will be to target the enterprise, Jeronimo continued.
"When Steve Jobs announced the iPad 2 he focused on consumer applications and features. Only the BlackBerry PlayBook, and to a certain extent the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 with its IT policies, are targeting the enterprise market," he said.
Jeronimo explained that Microsoft can differentiate itself by offering Office products and other software that appeals to IT administrators.
However, the analyst believes the BlackBerry PlayBook will have a very successful uptake in the enterprise, noting that IT administrators have been calling for tablets capable of synchronising with BlackBerry services.
Microsoft has been struggling in the mobile market for a long time, and was left red-faced when a simple update for Windows Phone 7 led to considerable problems for some handsets. Microsoft downplayed the issue, and updates have since resumed.
Meanwhile, the iPad 2, which was unveiled this week, was deemed to be a moderate upgrade by analysts as it offers nothing specific for enterprise users.
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