Beleaguered cell phone giant Nokia is poised to re-enter the US market in early 2012 with Windows Phone handsets targeting "multiple carriers," but the company's CEO is also open to the idea of expanding Nokia's computing horizons a bit. He says he "sees the opportunity" that Windows 8 tablets provide for hardware makers and is apparently open to the idea of pursuing such a strategy.

"There's a new tablet opportunity coming," Nokia CEO Stephen Elop told Bloomberg this week. "We see the opportunity. Unquestionably, [Windows 8] will change the dynamics [of the tablet market]."

When Windows Phone was first announced almost two years ago, many proponents of the platform, including myself, voiced the opinion that Windows Phone would make an excellent choice for a tablet OS, providing a Microsoft-oriented competitor to the iPad. Instead, Microsoft has chosen its mainstream PC OS, Windows, for such devices. But Windows 8 will include a Windows Phone-like user experience, providing the best of both worlds, assuming Microsoft pulls it off.

Elop declined, however, to announce that Nokia was definitely entering the tablet market. First, the company needs to turn around its dwindling cellphone and smartphone market share. Nokia, of course, revealed early this year that it would abandon its previous smartphone strategy to focus on Windows Phone. And while the company hasn't had a significant US presence in years, Elop aims to change that with Windows Phone.

"Our intention is to come back in the United States and to grow significant share in this market," he said this week. "We will be very competitive and go head-on with the appropriate devices at the appropriate price points. We know we need to get volume moving and we need from that to develop economies of scale. And then as we do more and more differentiation, we expand gross margin."