The Nokia brand is creeping steadily back into the smartphone world, with the mid-range Nokia 6 smartphone introduced to the U.S. market earlier this month and the Nokia 3 and Nokia 5 appearing in other markets around the world.
But feature phones remain firmly on the agenda, as evidenced by a duo of low-priced Nokia devices officially unveiled today.
Though Nokia itself no longer makes phones, the Finnish company helped establish a new business vehicle called HMD Global last year that would ensure Nokia’s smartphone brand lives on through a licensing arrangement. The first such device to emerge from the union was the $26 Nokia 150 feature phone, introduced to a handful of select markets around the world last December.
But HMD Global has managed to trump even that price point with the Nokia 105 and Nokia 130, which are essentially minor refreshes of old phones that have already gone to market a couple of times over the past four years.
— Nokia Mobile (@nokiamobile) July 17, 2017
The Nokia 105 will ship for a “global average price” of $14.50 (excluding taxes and subsidies) for the single SIM incarnation, or you can go all-in and pay $0.50 more for the dual SIM variant. The Nokia 130, again using HMD Global’s average price metric, will set you back $21.50.
Needless to say, the phones are basic, sporting 1.8-inch color screens, an LED torch, and up to a month’s worth of battery on standby. The Nokia 130 also features Bluetooth and a microSD slot.
Today’s relaunch of a couple of Nokia classics comes a few months after the Nokia 3310 reared its head again with a sleeker, more modern twist. So why is HMD Global continuing to target the feature phone market? Well, it’s apparently still big business, particularly in Asia and Africa. Some 400 million feature phones were sold globally in 2016, according to research from Counterpoint, with Nokia shipping more than 35 million of those — the second-highest number after Samsung.
HMD Global is expected to bring a flagship Nokia handset to market later this year — but until then, its bread-and-butter will be mid-range Android phones and, it seems, low-price feature phones.
“With more than 4 billion people remaining offline and unable to benefit from the social and economic development opportunities of the internet, simply getting connected by voice and text is still such an important step for many people around the world,” noted HMD Global CEO Arto Nummela. “More than 400 million feature phones were sold globally in 2016. We cannot underestimate the need and benefit of being connected, and we are dedicated to delivering devices that can enable many people around the world to expand their horizon.”