Microsoft has made a surprise announcement and revealed the new Nokia 216 feature phone.
The tech giant is evidently still making Nokia phones despite previously announcing that it would sell the Nokia feature phone business. Earlier this year Microsoft announced that it would sell the business to a subsidiary of Foxconn called FIH Mobile for $350 million. The announcement was made today on the Microsoft website.
Nokia 216 will launch October 24 in India
According to the specs, the Nokia 216 will be one of the most basic phones manufactured by Microsoft. It will launch in India next month with a retail price of about $37.
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The phone has a 2.4-inch QVGA display, 0.3-megapixel cameras on the front and back, and will run Series 30 OS with the Opera mini browser. The phone will still have a headphone jack, unlike the iPhone 7.
The Nokia 216 will also have a removable 1020mAh battery, 16 MB RAM and 16 MB internal storage. You can expand storage with external SD cards of up to 64 GB.
According to Microsoft the battery will last for up to 18 hours of talk time. On standby mode the charge will last for up to 19 days. Nokia phones have long been famous for their longevity, and it seems that Microsoft doesn’t want to lose that reputation.
Feature phones continue to sell well
A dual-sim version of the phone will be available. The handset will come in a choice of black, grey and blue colorways.
It seems that the Nokia 216 is a good choice for consumers who aren’t tech savvy, or can’t afford a smartphone. It could also be a good option for people who are going away on longer trips and might be worried about the battery life of their smartphone. Some commentators have pointed out that the phone could be a good backup to keep in the glove box of your car.
Microsoft sells millions of feature phones each month, which makes it easy to understand why it still makes them. The company had previously hoped that feature phone owners would make a Microsoft account and join the Microsoft ecosystem, but it’s not clear if they ever did.
Microsoft restructuring phone business
The company has hinted that it is planning to stop making its Lumia smartphones, and the latest rumors raise the possibility that the brand will die by the end of this year. Other rumors suggest that Microsoft is working on a Surface-branded phone which would be released in 2017.
As things stand it is fair to say that the company’s Lumia and Windows Phone strategy has not been a success. Both sales and Windows Phone market share have gone down since the company restructured its mobile business last year.
Microsoft has made deep cuts to its phone business and made thousands of employees redundant as part of a $7.6 billion write off after buying Nokia’s phone business. There is a chance that the Nokia 216 could be the last Nokia phone made by Microsoft, as the deal is expected to close by the end of this year.
The tech giant looks like it is still trying to figure out how best to manage its phone business. The sale to FIH may simplify matters, and give the company more time to focus on smartphones such as the rumored Surface-branded handset.
The Nokia 216 looks like a throwback to the early 2000s, but it should do a job for many people.