Troy Wolverton
San Jose Mercury News

Nokia has released its first-ever Windows tablet, the Lumia 2520. After testing the device, I wonder why Nokia bothered.

There’s just not much to recommend. Its design is unremarkable. Its screen is of lower resolution than competitors. Its app store lacks the breadth and depth of selection that you’ll find for other tablets.

If those weren’t enough reasons to be unimpressed, there’s this: It runs a version of Microsoft’s Windows that seems destined for the scrap heap because it has struggled mightily to find an audience among either consumers or device manufactures.

Nokia used to be a powerhouse in the mobile device industry, and has long been known for making high-quality hardware. But nearly three years ago, the company linked its fate to Microsoft and saw its sales, profit and market share plunge. Despite those results, Nokia stuck with Microsoft’s Windows Phone software and chose to enter the tablet market with a device running an out-of-favor Windows flavor: Windows RT.

Microsoft designed Windows RT so its partners could offer Windows-based tablets that could compete with Apple’s iPad in terms of price, weight and design. As an added bonus, Windows RT includes versions of Microsoft’s Office applications, notably Word and Excel. And the latest version of Windows RT also has a version of Outlook.

But Windows RT has one huge flaw: It’s not really Windows at all. It doesn’t run any Windows applications that were written for Windows 7 or older versions of the operating system.

Likely because of that shortcoming, Windows RT devices have suffered poor sales, and manufacturers other than Microsoft have abandoned the software. Recently, Microsoft has even indicated that it might get rid of Windows RT altogether.

There are other reasons to dislike Windows RT. The Office apps it includes lack many of the more advanced features found on Windows 8. And you have to run them using Windows RT’s hidden desktop interface, which wasn’t designed with touch screens in mind.

You might find yourself trying to navigate that old, difficult-to-use interface for other reasons.

Some of Windows RT’s advanced settings can only be accessed with the old desktop-based Control Panel, one of three settings areas in the operating system.

The Lumia 2520 had problems beyond running Windows RT.

The design is more oblong than other tablets on the market, which makes the Lumia 2520 ideal for watching high-definition, widescreen videos.

And I had another complaint about the Lumia 2520 — it was unstable. While updating its software, the device froze, and I had to reset it.

Several apps crashed or didn’t work properly. And I couldn’t even get Outlook to connect to one of my email accounts, even though I used the same settings I use on my iPhone and other devices.

All of this might be tolerable if the Lumia 2520 was a bargain. But it’s not.

The device will cost you at least $400 with a two-year cellular contract with AT&T or Verizon. Without a contract, it costs $500.