After being buoyed up by the recent success of its new WP7-based smartphone range, it is now coming to light that the Finnish smartphone manufacturer looks set to further enhance its partnership with Microsoft by releasing a 10-inch Windows 8 tablet sometime around the fourth quarter of this year.

A Nokia executive said last November that they planned to eventually offer a Windows-based tablet, although the company refused to go on the record at the time. Recently leaked slides from an internal video at the beginning of February has further heightened speculation, with mentions of Nokia releasing products with several different form factors based on Microsoft software, including a tablet.

Now, sources familiar with the matter speaking to DigiTimes say the smartphone maker is set to release the tablet powered by a dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, according to upstream component suppliers. "Nokia is expected to outsource production of the 10-inch tablets to Compal Electronics with the first batch of shipments to top 200,000 units," their sources revealed.

There is no doubt that Nokia joining the previously approved vendors, Qualcomm, Nvidia and Texas Instruments will help Microsoft compete stronger against the wave of Android tablets, but with competition already strife against the iPad, it will be interesting to see how much of a success the venture will be.

With the ever-growing range of WP7 Lumia smartphones it does make sense that the firm would look to further capitalize on the partnership with the OS giant, and with the Android tablet market being so fragmented, it is possible the ARM-based Windows 8 tablets could give them strong competition.

Whether it will be enough to topple the seemingly unstoppable success of Cupertino-based Apple's new iPad is uncertain. Android tablets have managed to slightly cut into the iconic American firm's market share, but there hasn't yet been a single Android tablet that has matched the iPad on sales or popularity.

Tablet mock-up via The Verge (not actual device)