Microsoft Does About-Face, Debuts $25 Phone
Microsoft is doing away with Nokia's low-end feature phones, but it still sees life left in the ultra low end, as evidenced by its new product launch Monday.
The software-giant-turned-phone-maker introduced the Nokia 130, a €19 ($25 US) phone aimed at first-time phone buyers in emerging markets. The device lacks an Internet connection and will run Nokia's own operating system, not the Asha OS that Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) said it was scrapping in favor of the Android variant Nokia X. (See Microsoft to Axe 12,500 Ex-Nokia Employees.)
The device also includes a video and music player and, impressively, battery life of up to 36 days standby for the single SIM version, or 26 days for the dual-SIM version. See the video below for a quick look at the device in its red, black and white glory.
The Nokia 130 will begin shipping in the third quarter in China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Unlike Nokia, which focused on hardware sales, Microsoft is all about selling its services. With these low-end devices, it's hoping to bring on board first-time device users and eventually get them using Microsoft services such as Bing and OneDrive. The strategy makes some sense, although it is a bit hard to follow, given that the 130 is very much a Nokia-branded device and (in this version, at least) doesn't even connect to the Internet.
The move also represents an about-face for the company, as it recently told employees (those it didn't axe) that it would focus entirely on Windows Phone and stop updating its basic feature phones. The newly married Microsoft-Nokia is still clearly working out what its focus will be and just how low it will go. (See Microsoft Poaches Top Qualcomm Exec.)
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading