Just when you thought you had seen the last of basic Nokia phones, Microsoft is launching its Nokia 130 today for $25 (€19).
In June, Microsoft decided to wind down service for Nokia’s low-end Asha feature phone in favor of the higher-end Nokia X device running Windows Phone. Many tech reporters surmised this was the end of cheap, simple Nokia phones.
But that seems not to be the case. Microsoft’s new stripped-down phone offers an MP3 player, video support, and radio functionality as well as a flashlight. It is geared toward countries that offer cell phones for at low prices.
The Nokia 130 does not connect to the Internet, but there are other low-end Nokia phones that do, like the slightly higher priced Nokia 220, which Microsoft is using to connect consumers with Bing and One Drive.
More than a billion people don’t have a cell phone, Microsoft phone unit VP Jo Harlow told Recode. “Microsoft doesn’t have any other project that can reach these consumers,” Harlow said.
Reaching out to foreign markets with cheap products is certainly one way to build a loyal consumer base — and it’s a model Xiaomi is pursuing in China. However, as Recode points out, the company made the same case for its recently discontinued Asha phones.
Still, as technology continues to evolve, we can only expect that better cheaper phones will emerge. Being at the forefront of that movement is not such a bad thing.