Nokia is expected to refresh its Lumia smartphones later this year and we could even see a Windows tablet in the company’s line-up. The company has been rumoured to be working on a Windows 8 tablet since last year now and the company was expected to show up with a Lumia tablet at Mobile World Congress. However, that remained a Nokia fan’s dream and nothing solid has come out on the tablet front since then.

However, a patent application by the company suggests it could be readying a tablet for launch. Unwired View reports that the patent application is called 'Apparatus Cover with Keyboard' and it sounds awfully similar to the Surface cover.

The patent application detailing the multiple ways the cover can be used (Image credit: Unwired View)

The patent application detailing the multiple ways the cover can be used (Image credit: Unwired View)

The application details a mechanical keyboard/cover integrated into a tablet device and one which can fold in multiple ways, based on the user’s different needs. The Surface tablet, Microsoft’s slate for Windows 8 and RT, also has a similar cover, which folds in a couple of ways to present users with a keyboard and a kickstand.

The patent application is from early in Nokia’s licensing agreement with Microsoft and is dated October 2011. The keys on the keyboard are shaped very similarly to the keys on the QWERTY keypad on the likes of Nokia E7.

For those thinking that this was intended to be used with a Windows RT device, it must be noted that that particular variant of the OS was not released till later this year. And Microsoft launched the Surface tablet last year, with a similar cover. So this could just be a patent application that never amounted to anything.

The keyboard on the cover (Image credit: Unwired View)

The keyboard on the cover (Image credit: Unwired View)

Interestingly, rumours floating around about the Nokia tablet, did mention that it would have a specialised battery-equipped flip cover. The cover was said to double up as a keyboard and a kickstand for the tablet and feature two USB ports for additional connectivity.

If Nokia does decide to go the tablet or PC way, it wouldn’t be there first foray into that segment. The company had launched the short-lived Nokia Booklet 3G, a Windows 7-running netbook launched in 2009.

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