SAN FRANCISCO There's probably an apt metaphor in Nokia announcing its first connected Windows tablet and two new "phablet" devices Tuesday in far-far away Abu Dhabi. Nokia has to travel great distances to catch up to its Android and iOS rivals in the U.S.
The timing of the announcements doesn't seem all that terrific for Nokia either, at least from a U.S. perspective. That's because all the attention in tech will be focused on San Francisco, where Apple Tuesday is expected to unveil its latest Pads.
Still, there is a lot of renewed curiosity in what Nokia is up to these days, especially with the Finnish phone maker about to join Microsoft.
Nokia's connected Windows tablet it is LTE-capable along with Wi-Fi is called the Lumia 2520. It sports a 10.1-inch HD display, a 6.7 megapixel camera, and Zeiss optics that Nokia says is a first for a tablet, promising excellent pictures even when shot in low light.
Indeed, one area Nokia has been generating a lot of noise these days is in photography, exemplified by the 41-megapixel sensor in the Lumia 1020 smartphone that came out earlier in the year.
Nokia says all the latest devices include very good cameras too, if not quite getting up to 41 megapixels.
Nokia decided with the 2520 to go with Windows RT 8.1, the same version of Windows as in Microsoft's new Surface 2 tablet. It is the version that is aimed more at the tablet user, as opposed to the more PC-oriented Pro version on Microsoft's Surface 2 Pro.
Other details: Nokia claims the 2520 can reach an 80% charge in one hour. And Nokia with the 2520 is teaming with DreamWorks Animation on a new "Dragons Adventure" interactive game. Also included, a Nokia Storyteller app that lets people curate and relive images and videos as a story on a map.
Speaking of maps, Nokia says its integrated HERE Maps app makes the 2520 the only tablet with true offline maps.
U.S. availability comes later in the year on AT&T, at an expected price of $499. Verizon also has confirmed it will be carrying the 2520 this quarter.
Meanwhile, Nokia weighs in with a pair of new super-sized screen smartphones, commonly known as "phablets." The high-end quad-core Lumia 1520, as well as the more modestly-priced Lumia 1320 devices have whopping 6-inch high definition displays. The former can get up to full 1080p resolution, the latter 720p.
The 1520 carries a lofty $749 price before any taxes or subsidies; the 1320 is at $339 before subsidies. The 1520 will be available this quarter in the U.S. (exclusive to AT&T to start) and elsewhere. The 1320 will be available after the first of the year but not the U.S.
A 20 megapixel "Pure View" camera is included in the 1520, which can be dressed in yellow, white, black or glossy red. The 1320 has a 5-megapixel shooter and is also available in multiple colors.
The latest handsets also feature the Storyteller. And the Windows Phone 8 platform that these phones run on will be helped by the addition of various popular third party apps, including Instagram and Vine.
Among the options on the device side: wireless charging.
"Nokia's challenge is not so much in its ability to deliver qualitative new product experiences but more in the overall brand perception - especially when entering a brand-new market like tablets," Forrester analyst Thomas Husson says. "Despite a more affordable price, the respective positioning of Nokia's new tablet versus the Surface 2 is not obvious and will have to be dealt with post Nokia's acquisition."
From Abu Dhabi, Nokia also unveiled lower-priced Asha-branded handsets but they're not currently slated for the U.S. market.
Follow Ed Baig on Twitter: @edbaig.